Craft Yourself Calm (#gifted)

I am a person who truly believes that crafting has therapeutic values. Through my own mental and physical health struggles, crafting has provided me with an outlet, focus and comfort.

Once hospitalised for severe mental illness, I had over a year's art therapy where I tried to let go of my perfectionism and enjoy the flow of being in the moment of crafting. I have also ran a small crafts business for many years which encouraged me to eventually complete an A-level in both textiles and graphics; each of which I excelled in. To this day I still am engrossed in crafts, from making handmade Christmas presents to creating leads for my dog. So, when the 'Make & Mend Co' invited me to their festival (#gifted) I was buzzing at the thought of getting stuck into some new art forms.

Survival Techniques Mural

Rachel and Lydsay are the creators of the 'Make & Mend Festival'; hoping to spread a passion about restoring, repairing and rejuvenating. It is held each year at the stunning Preston Hall Museum in North East England, which holds a glorious walled garden, grand ballroom and even it's own old-fashioned sweet shop! No expense had been spared on the decoration, making it a totally instagram-worthy location filled with art from Survival Techniques, banners and a large centrepiece in the ballroom. 

Mum and I were booked onto a workshop in the afternoon but arrived early so I could have a look around first. We saw a whole array of workshops including bookbinding, macrame and flower arranging. Each workshop cost a small fee of £10 which I personally think was extremely reasonable for the crafts which were being created. We carried on through the village square, where a number of free drop-in workshops were present and had a look around the craft market.

 Bookbinding with Cloe Sparrow. Macrame hanger with Naomi Graham. Summer wreath by Blummin Nora.  Origami lampshade by Namita Vijayakumar.
Following through the walled garden, we arrived at the wellbeing garden just in time for some relaxing yoga. This was one of my favourite activities because Kerrie Murray who ran the class was extremely inclusive in the session. Being a wheelchair user, any activity (especially one involving anything which involved movement) means I have to sit out or the instructor panics. Not this time. She explained the exercises I could do sat down and asked me to use imagery when the rest of the class were standing up to ground myself; as a disabled teacher myself I was very impressed!

Kerrie Murray Dru Yoga

Lunch did not disappoint us with both vegan, gluten and diary free options on the menu (WHAT?!) meaning we could relax in the sun whilst enjoying our food. It was time for our workshop with The Crafthood and we were making knitted necklaces with recycled t-shirt yarn. The workshops was fantastic! The instructions were easy to follow, we both made a piece of jewellery we would wear and on the way home I ordered 2 large balls of yarn so we could make more - officially hooked! I particularly love the way that the yarn used is all recycled because of the huge amount of waste in the fashion industry. Also, I also love The Crafthood as a business with their 'buy one, gift one' scheme which gives back to the community through donating a workshop to a local charity when you purchase a workshop. Fabulous work!

 Workshop with The Crafthood. Lunch at The Sitting Room.

Overall, we had a fantastic day out and will definitely be putting it in our diary for next year. It reminded me the importance to put some time aside for self-care again and that I can incorporate things I love, such as crafts, to relax and rewind. A very regenerative and restorative day - thank you Make & Mend Co!

Kate x

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