I recently came across Yarrow Magdalena, a web designer who embraces the art of slow crafting. One of her Instagram accounts cites that in addition to an interesting in textile art and history, she appreciates “slow, therapeutic crafts for mental health + ptsd” and enjoys “DIY comfort items.” That’s right up my alley.
I always love learning more about what slow crafting means to people. Therefore, I was thrilled that Yarrow was open to an interview to share more with us. Here it is …
First, let’s start with an introduction.
Who are you and what would you like to share with us about your art and life?
Thanks so much for asking! My name is Yarrow and I live in Brighton with my little dog Orlando. I run a small web design agency called Yarrow Digital from my tiny house.
I love the creative aspects of my work. Every day is different and I get to play with colors, fonts, and images to create a visual language for my clients, which is amazing.
I am also really into herbalism and self-care rituals, which I see as part of my creativity, too. In my free time, I love embroidering plants, making balms or tinctures, and going for long woodland walks to be inspired by nature.
I’m still finding drawing quite hard, so working with needle and thread feels like a really relaxing, peaceful alternative that gives me joy. Clay is another medium I really like exploring because it’s so sensual and tactile.
I’ve made a few simple pieces that I treasure and use every day. I find there is meaning in making what we need by hand. In the past when I have struggled I have often turned to consumerism or other distractions. It feels good and healing to now have a few well-loved items instead of a lot of clutter.
What does slow living mean to you?
I feel that being slow and enjoying spaciousness and consideration have become real luxuries. Life has become incredibly fast in almost every sphere. Taking your time is a form of resistance.
I had my first burn out when I was 24. I had to slowly unlearn the idea that I needed to have everything figured out, that I needed to know what I wanted to do with my life or how things “should” look.
My main practice of slowness these days is not starting work before ten in the morning. I walk my dog, I drink a lot of herbal tea, I meditate and journal. Only after that do I turn on my computer.
What is slow crafting for you and how can it be therapeutic?
I love making things that take time:
- intricate embroidery
- pottery that will be fired and painted and then fired again
- watercolor paintings with tiny details.
I find the small, repetitive movements that I make with my needle really soothing. Overall I find it therapeutic to have reminders of my ability to create and recreate around me.
I also like crafting together with others. It is a gentle, mindful way of socializing when there isn’t enough energy to do something more draining like going into town or working out.
What was your journey to therapeutic crafting?
I have experienced (and sometimes still experience) both anxiety and depression. I process sensory input differently, so I am often overwhelmed, and I have to carefully think about how I am interacting with the world.
I took a few classes at a local art school and found that really helpful. However, I am also learning a lot on platforms like Creative Bug and Skillshare. I love watching videos and learning new things from the comfort of my home. Plus I really appreciate Instagram as a space to share and feel inspired.
You can connect with Yarrow and see more of her work on Instagram @yarrowdigital and @therapeutictextiles.