In our latest wellbeing study, we asked our students to give us their views on this important topic; we send a big thank you to all of you who took time to respond. The study is our third in the series since we took over Ardington School of Crafts at the end of 2016, and showed that over 9 out of 10 (97.5%) believe Arts & Crafts improve their mental health and wellbeing. 8 out of 10 feel an enhanced sense of purpose and over 7 out of 10 (72.5%) feel their concentration levels are improved. Participants also reported improved social connectedness, activity levels, physical health and communication ability.
We were also keen to understand what were people’s favourite subjects. As in previous studies, textiles and needlework, painting and drawing, calligraphy and printing came out high on the list, followed by mixed media, papercrafts, jewellery making, clay and ceramics and glasswork.
We also asked about people’s experiences and preferences of doing online or onsite classes and workshops. Interestingly, more than half enjoy online learning as much or more than onsite, mainly because of the convenience to fit it in around their lifestyles. You can read all the individual comments below – they speak for themselves.
Our students cite the positive benefits of doing arts and crafts activities
“Getting 'lost' in the activity - improves concentration, removes one from the pressures/horrors/etc of real life. In some cases, striking up a friendship with a like-minded person. Having been told at school I wasn't any good at art finding out that I am actually not half bad - great confidence boost.
During lockdown I was even more aware of the benefits of living in the countryside as walking everyday I would look for little items a leaf a plant the colour of the sky, to inspire me as subject matter to put into a textile piece or a collage. I started to draw more and gained confidence in doing so. It gave me a sense of purpose and of joy, especially when I was pleased with the outcome.
Gives a feeling of achievement and makes you feel more positive
The satisfaction of learning a new skill or improving one is such a positive boost in one's self esteem and outlook.
I believe that thinking about art, physically painting, drawing, on line lessons have kept me sane. Have managed a few live lessons, but during Covid art was my lifeline. On line lessons have been brilliant.
As a carer I have limited time to undertake my passion for painting and embroidery so these online courses with the recording option is excellent for me and means I can pick up on a course whenever I have the time. Its been a godsend during a very stressful period.
A reason to get up in the morning
Joining the local quilting group, and since then becoming the chair and helping to organise talks and exhibitions has really helped me connect with my local community and has given me purpose and pleasure.
Only the items I have made, some of which I have given to others. I work long hours and it gives me a time to be completely immersed in something completely different.
I improved my skills level in calligraphy - having more uninterrupted sessions with more time to reflect on and finish pieces of work
Being occupied, excited, trying new activities, sometime successful sometime not, socialising, listening and talking and being spoken to during the class. This is where Gemma is such an ambassador to Ardington.
Helps with mindfulness
Connecting with other, like-minded people.
Something in the diary to look forward to.
My most interesting friends are also "designer/makers"
I have clinical depression, without crafts I could not function
I make presents for people for Christmas and birthdays which gives me a sense of pride. I use crafting to keep my hands busy which helps me not to graze on chocolate and crisps in the evening. Also I can't worry when my hands are occupied.
Helping release stress from my busy day job.
The concentrated effort of Lino cutting or hand stitching is both mindful and calming
Lifting spirits doing something creative occupying your mind with that purpose meeting new people all particularly relevant during last couple of years
I’m a calligrapher and a friend is a watercolour artist, we were the busiest we’ve ever been in lockdown and didn’t want it to end. Whilst other people were so lonely and miserable, we only got a sense of it through programmes like Staged and Grayson Perry.
To me, it's mindfulness. In the moment rather than dwelling on external events.
Relaxation and mindfulness. Eliminates boredom
The positive benefits have included feeling mentally better, with improved quality of life and tangible end products that I am proud of
Its very calming to sit and stitch or to practice lettering
Making and sharing
Once I had set myself some craft goals as a reward for completing fuller, necessary tasks, I lost my listless lockdown syndrome
Plenty to think about in the dark winter days
Its being able to 'lose yourself in the craft, not thinking about anything else but that.
Wanting to do and learn more”
Thank you once again to all those who contributed to the research. We hope you enjoy the benefits of doing Arts & Crafts for many years to come! You can see the full results here.