Bluecoat Display Centre’s new Outreach Programme, ‘Making an Impact,’ aims to demonstrate the benefits that craft can have on a overall health and wellbeing.
This month, textiles artist Helen Chatterton will take on a 4 week artist residency at Holly Lodge Girls College, teaching girls of all ages to knit, and contribute to an installation to be displayed at the Palm House in Sefton Park.
Nowadays, knitting is not just a way to make nice scarves and hats to keep you warm in the winter. Knitting needs you to use both of your hands at the same time and repeatedly bring your attention back to what you are doing. Research shows that this can have a very positive effect on your brain function and can give the same results as meditation. Research from Cardiff University and Stich links, proves that knitting does have a positive impact on mood and feelings, helping people to feel calmer and happier.
“Results showed that knitting is considered good for memory, helps people to think in a more organised way, and improves concentration. Knitting socially fosters a feeling of belonging, enjoyment and friendship.”
Research by physiotherapist Betsan Corkhill suggests that knitting can be addictive, but in a good way. Knitting, according to Betsan, can replace other addictions to weight loss and binge eating, smoking and alcohol, and forms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. It is said that the rhythmic, repetitive movements of knitting, and other craft activities, can form a constructive addiction. People can find themselves absorbed in the activity, which occupies and distracts the brain, but has also been clinically proven to raise levels of the mood-enhancing chemical serotonin, whilst inducing relaxation.
Knitting improves relaxation by creating a distraction, quietening stress, anxiety and even helping people to manage pain. At the same time, both the sense of achievement gained from craft and the social interaction it encourages can help to combat the isolation of depression. Betsan explains:
“Knitting can change negative thoughts and attitudes into positive ones. It encourages people to move forwards. Confidence, self esteem, motivation and mood improves. It gives people a vehicle by which to make social contact and, in so doing, keeps their world open.”
Learning art, craft and design skills has a range of educational benefits. It fosters creative thinking and innovative learning, aids cognitive development and helps develop problem-solving skills. These, in turn, provide a solid foundation for a number of professions, including engineering, manufacturing, medicine and software design.
This residency at Holly Lodge Girls College will teach children aged from 11 to 18 to knit. Thanks to a generous donation of needles from Craft Club, and wool from Rowan, the girls with have their own needles to keep so that they can continue to practice in their own time, and at their own leisure.
“The place of art in creating and supporting feelings of wellbeing is vital.” Margaret Hodge (former culture minister)
Visit Scotland have taken on the knitting trend, with Shetland Ponies sporting some winter woolies!
Have you ever wanted to learn to knit? Did you used to knit long ago but have hung up your needles? The Art Department at Holly Lodge invites you to take part in SPINNING A YARN. We would like to invite you to attend a knitting workshop/get together on Wednesday 27th February 3-4pm.
Please contact R.Powell@hollylodge.liverpool.sch.uk to book a place.
Written by Beth Harvey (Outreach Officer)