For some time I have been thinking and praying about setting up some sort of creative group at Church, probably with a focus on stitching (knitting, crochet and sewing related crafts), to be held fortnightly on a Monday morning, alternating with the Monday Fellowship and hopefully starting this autumn. It might take the form of a drop-in coffee morning where people bring their crafts to do, but it could grow into something else. I am looking for a smallgroup of people, who’d be willing to help, initially to discuss the practicalities of setting up the group and also others to share welcoming/hosting/catering responsibilities. The benefits of such a group and reasons for starting it could be as follows.
We are a multi-talented church; I can think of people who knit, stitch, paint, crochet, weave and can do macramé. (How many more God given hidden creative and practical gifts are out there?) There will be many people in our immediate local area who also have such talents. Social media sites like Instagram and Pinterest have created an online ‘community’ where people share ideas and inspire each other, but it’s not quite like sharing ideas, skills and talents with others in the same room.
Having attended two knitting and stitching groups recently, I have reflected on the possible benefits to for those who may be lonely or who find new social situation difficult. Your hands are busy with a project, so you don’t have to necessarily chat. But you are still with other people and you have automatically have a conversation starter – what you’re making – and a shared interest.
It is suggested that engaging in the creative arts promotes good mental health. In our multitasking world, whilst sewing or knitting etc, you are focusing on just one thing, meaning that it can become meditative and calming, like a form of mindfulness. Apparently, knitting can lower blood pressure and hand stitching is rhythmic like a heartbeat. (Google “Slow Stitching” for more information on this theme.)
There are also the hot topics of recycling, reusing, up-cycling and reducing plastic etc which are also linked to things being handmade. Beeswax coated sandwich wraps, and washable fabric make up remover pads are out there! There’s a big dressmaking revival too.
I am cautious about running before we can walk or being over ambitious, but at our ideas morning, Alan encouraged us to think big by not put obstacles in the way of what visions we might have. So, maybe with God’s help and our faith, the following could be achieved:
– bringing people to God through creativity
– using our practical skills to help others
– guest speakers and workshops
– links with local businesses
– open morning with displays of work or demonstrations
– inviting in a primary school class to teach them a traditional craft
– working on items for charity- mini workshops run by people in the group
– making items for children in hospital/the bereaved. (Someone told me recently about how she sews bags for the bereaved to take home loved ones’ effects from hospital, rather than them taking them home in a plastic bag.)
– challenges. (At the moment The British Heart Foundation is running “The Big Stitch” for people to use fabric from an item of clothing bought in one of their charity shops, into something new.)
– having another parallel group running in the hall/church for others with different creative or practical skills. Please Google “Men’s Sheds” for information on a fantastic and very successful initiative. (That’s not suggesting that any of our groups would be gender specific.)
– pray for the setting up of the group
– let me know if you’d like to help in the setting up of the group and attending a meeting in early September.
– let me know if you don’t want to help set it up but might be interested in coming along and helping or just coming along.
– Give me suggestions for a name for it! I’ve come across “Knit and Natter” “The Knox Knitters” “Sew Saturday” and “Crafternoon” for other groups.