Using Creativity to Combat Stress
Words / Catriona Pollard
A few years ago, I realised that the hectic lifestyle I was living and the intense pressure of running a business were beginning to take a toll on me. I was close to burning out and knew things needed to change.
Through some reassessing , I found I had a deep desire to incorporate more creativity into my life. While I had to be creative at work every day as the CEO of a PR agency, I needed to tap into something that was more about exploration and play. I knew that, not only would this be something deeply satisfying and inspiring on a personal level, it would also help me to tap into new perspectives and an innovative mindset at work and in my life.
I’ve always been interested in many forms of craft, so I booked into a weeklong basketry course. I picked up a vine to weave and was hooked. It’s the combination of nature, imagination and beauty that attracted me to sculptural basketry.
We have seen noticeable resurgence in creating traditional crafts in the past few years. I think it’s the combination of how virtual our lives have become and how busy we all seem to be, which have resulted in people looking for arts and craft that reconnect them with slower, traditional creative experiences.
Weaving, like many types of craft and art forms, can be a type of meditation and it’s this that’s driving a renewed interest in traditional arts and craft. It allows you to slow down and connect with your inner wisdom. We live such hectic lives and I believe it’s important to explore different ways to help us slow down and quiet the mind, like art. For me, art is simply about being still and letting the beauty emerge. Art and craft practices highlight how differently we all see things. They help us appreciate that many different points of view expand our world view. They help us overcome business (and life) challenges and realise that different perspectives are essential in dealing with the complexities of everyday life.
Igniting your imagination:
What craft and art forms do is create an environment where we are combining right-brain imagination with left-brain logic. This increases the capacity for breakthrough ideas and insights. I have found basketry is the perfect representation of this concept. You can give 10 people the same plant fibre, teach them the same technique and you will get 10 different baskets.
When I’m weaving, no two pieces are the same, even if I’m using the same material and technique. They will be different. That’s because weaving using organic material is about listening to what it wants to be. I may have an idea about what I’m going to create, but the material decides what it wants to become.
For me, weaving is about finding an object and visualising the piece of art that it could become. I could pick up a vine, stick or seed pod and experience pure joy as I imagine the endless possibilities I can create. I have found that nature is my greatest inspiration. The natural beauty creates energy within me; it makes my soul sing.
The positive benefits:
Slowing down has proven to be the key to my health and wellbeing. It took a very stressful period in my life to force me to find creative experiences.
I’ve found you can achieve new growth when you allow your visions and perceptions to be transformed. My sculptural basketry is a reflection on the inner landscape in us all. It encourages us to question what would happen if we saw aspects of our lives in different ways. We all have new growth ready to emerge, and art and creativity can help you find a deep sense of joy and reconnect with your imagination. It can give you new insights and perspectives on all aspects of your life. I know this to be true. Take things slowly, focus on exploration and play and give yourself plenty of time for the beauty to emerge.