Crafting for Mental Health, art as a therapy, Macramé and me

 “Art holds out the promise of inner wholeness.”

The question of what art is has occupied humanity since the dawn of recorded history. For Tolstoy, the purpose of art was to provide a bridge of empathy between us and others, and for Anaïs Nin, a way to exorcise our emotional excess. But the highest achievement of art might be something that reconciles the two: a channel of empathy into our own psychology that lets us both exorcise and better understand our emotions — in other words, a form of therapy.

Crafting for Mental Health, art as a therapy, Macramé and me

Macramé has developed...yes it's all a part of the imaginative process continuing on different levels. Novice macramé crafters, as well as experts, find it therapeutic, fun, creative, and satisfying. There are more and more choices for great macramé to complement the décor of your home, wardrobe and personal style for those who just desire to use and enjoy the finished products.

Today, the skill and hobby of Macramé means different things to different people; for many, the skill is good and special in many ways, while for some it holds no importance. Macramé involves tying knots that can strengthen your hands and arms. Creating a macramé product can be very calming and soothing to the body, mind and spirit; it is also an environment friendly art option.  These are just some of the benefits which macramé art lovers believe this art form imparts to its practitioners.

Besides the many decorative items and useful products that macramé creates, there are other benefits derived from macramé. Macramé is therapeutic in nature. Pulling and working of the cords helps to strengthen the hands and arms. It helps to loosen the joints. Some people find that macramé, an art of repetitive knots used to create designs is meditative bringing with it peace and calmness of mind. Some twine and a few basic knots are all a hobbyist needs to explore the immense possibilities that macramé offers. Macramé craft does not employ many supplies or tools. Macramé is making a comeback in a big way.

The craft of knotting a diversity of geometric patterns without availing the use of hooks, needles, or hoops is the art recognized as macramé.

The skill of macramé dates back to the thirteenth century. The word macramé is Arabic in origin meaning "fringe". It's thought that Arabian weavers began the skill by knotting the additional material at the edges of loamed material. From these origins it eventually made it to Italy and France in the early fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Sailors commenced with the skill as it was a favored way to pass some of the long hours out at sea. The basic knots that the sailors utilized are the basic knots of macramé today...the half knot, square knot, and the half-hitch knot. The sailors passed on their craft to the Chinese who adapted the skill to their own particular civilization and culture. The skill became fashionable with the British during the nineteenth century.

As time passed the skill fell to neglect. It was revived in the 1960s and '70s, which brought revitalization to the ancient skill. Its popularity waned some in the '80s and '90s, but the beginning of the 21st century has seen the return of its popularity into full swing, with an unlimited number of creative possibilities for the hobbyist, artist, and appreciator of the many diverse macramé products.

These days the hobby and skill of macramé means different things to different people. For many the skill is good in many ways. Tying the variety of knots can strengthen hands and arms. Creating a macramé project can be quite calming to the mind, body, and spirit! Macramé projects require few instruments and require supplies without any chemicals or fumes; it is definitely an earth-friendly, natural skill.

Examples of projects vary from macramé jewelry to macrame plant hangers to home decorations to wall hangers to purses and to belts. The various colors and textures of macramé make for a a broad variety to select from. Materials range from various thickness of jute and hemp, to twine, colored nylon and polyester fibers. Not only do you have wooden beads in projects, but glass and ceramic beads are also being incorporated into projects these days as well.

Like other tools, art has the power to extend our capacities beyond those that nature has originally endowed us with. Art compensates us for certain inborn weaknesses, in this case of the mind rather than the body, weaknesses that we can refer to as psychological frailties.

 

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