In last week’s post, I shared details about the three books I’ve authored about crochet as therapy. This week I’d like to introduce you to some other craft therapy books that educate and inspire people to use handmade creativity to heal from mental health issues.
This book’s subtitle is, “Mend yourself by making things.” That perfectly sums up what it’s all about. Authors Rosemary Davidson and Arzu Tahsin share their own stories about how they came to realize they were using craft therapy in their own lives. Rosemary herself has dealt with the challenges of debilitating bipolar depression. She has used knitting as therapy.
Chapter three is devoted specifically to crafting through mental health issues. The authors write,
“The act of knitting, its repetitive rhythm, calms and soothes. … Watching the rows growing in repeating patterns, takes some of the pain away.”
Full disclosure: I’m quoted several times in this book. However, that’s not what makes me love this title. It’s an impressive new release that provides a lot of insight into how craft heals us.
2. Love in Every Stitch
This is another book about knitting as therapy. There are also a few stories that are about crochet as therapy. Author Lee Gant has collected a series of stories about women who use yarn as self-care.
Each story is self-contained, so you can choose to read those stories that you connect with most. Whether it’s a teenager crafting through the challenges of pregnancy or a woman who finds hope after blindness thanks to yarn, each story is touching.
As a collection, this is strong anecdotal proof that hands-on making heals people.
3. Zen And the Art of Needlecraft
This book by Sandra Dextrihe is about “exploring the links between needlecraft, spirituality, and creativity.” Many people find that spirituality is a critical part of their mental health plan. This book delves into the similarities and links between spirituality and creativity. Moreover, it looks at how sewing and other needlecrafts can help you access those important aspects of life. Dextrihe has also authored, “Zen and the Art of Quilting.”
4. Craft to Heal
This book by Nancy Monson takes a broader view of craft as therapy, incorporating art therapy lessons and research into her work. Whether you are sewing, painting, or engaging in some other creative hobby, it can help you through the toughest times in life.
In the beginning of the book, she talks about the key role that stress plays in interrupting our mental health. Then she goes on to explore how crafting reduces stress. My three favorite chapters are in the middle:
- The Psychological Benefits of Crafting
- The Physical Benefits of Crafting
- The Spiritual Benefits of Crafting
The book also provides solid tips for using crafts to heal. In particular, it emphasizes the importance of the process over the product. This is a key aspect of craft therapy.
5. Crafted Lives: Stories and Studies of African American Quilters
There has been a lot of important discussion recently about diversity in the craft community. This book is a terrific resource for people who want to learn the story of African American quilting. Through stories with titles including, “restoring the soul” and “redirecting the pain,” we learn about how quilting helps heal people through myriad challenges.
In addition to sharing contemporary personal stories, it delves into the history of “African American quilts and quilters have been depicted, discussed, criticized, and characterized.”
Do you have a book to recommend about craft as therapy? I’m interested so share it in the comments and I’ll check it out!