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September 19, 2018

The benefits of arts and crafts

This article was published September 10, 2018 at 4:00 a.m.

I come from a long line of crafters. My grandmother made dolls and sewed. My mom was and still is always making something. When my sister and I were young, she would patiently explain what she was doing and allow us to sit beside her and work on our own projects. Mom fostered a sense of creativity and encouraged us to use all types of artistic media, because she was always "game" to try something new.

Most people recognize the benefits that kids receive while making arts and crafts. Kids who craft demonstrate improvement in bilateral coordination and fine motor skills. Crafting also improves their ability to self-regulate by waiting on projects to dry, etc. and increases self-esteem and bonding. We tend to look at crafting as something for kids or something that adults do for kids, but have you considered that research shows tremendous benefits for adults?

Arts and crafts benefit the brain and also influence our sense of well-being. Studies show that adults who engage in arts and crafts are 73 percent less likely to develop mild cognitive impairment. Researchers are continuously studying the benefits of arts and crafts engagement in patients with dementia. Interestingly, while memory and the ability to plan complex tasks are damaged in the early stages of dementia and Alzheimer's, the part of the brain involved in emotion and creativity stays intact much longer. Even with loss of memory or speech, the ability to express oneself through the arts gives many patients a way to communicate.

Pablo Picasso said, "The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls." People who craft tend to be more relaxed and experience less physical pain. Painting, quilting, knitting, paper crafting -- all of them and more benefit us and can have a positive effect. We are not limited to any one type of craft for promoting well-being.

Recently, I have been exploring paper crafting. Great satisfaction can be found in making cards and beautiful designs out of paper and there are numerous ways to do it. One of the great things about paper crafting is you can make something beautiful and purposeful at the same time. The investment you make folding, cutting and designing a card then becomes a thoughtful gift you can give to a friend. Added benefits come when working with others who enjoy paper crafting. Community allows us to take crafting to a higher level by learning new skills and using those skills to serve others.

If you enjoy paper crafting or would like to learn more about it, the Garland County Extension Homemakers welcome you to join them for a new paper crafting EH club starting at 6 p.m. Sept. 24 in the EHC building at the Garland County Fairgrounds. For the first the few months, the new club will meet on the second and fourth Mondays of the month and then will meet monthly after the club is established. For more information, contact the Garland County Extension Office at 236 Woodbine or call 501-623-6841.

EHC is the largest community service organization in the state and is a great way to be a lifelong learner while putting your knowledge to work helping others. Anyone can join this new club or any of our existing clubs. For information, email Alison Crane at acrane@uaex.edu.

Master Gardeners

If interested in becoming a Master Gardener and would like information, the public is welcome to attend the meetings at 1 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month at the Elks Lodge; call the Extension Office or email abates@uaex.edu.

4-H Information

There are 4-H clubs for Garland County youths who are 5 to 19 years old. For information on all the activities, call the Extension Office or email Linda Bates at lbates@uaex.edu.

Society on 09/10/2018
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