In this digital era, one in which we are constantly barraged by the media about the stresses and time constraints of daily life, it is fascinating to see that arts and crafts, which can be both time-consuming yet also profitable, are back. According to recent research compiled by the Association for Creative Industries, the total size of the U.S. creative industry is $43.9 billion, representing a 45% increase from totals obtained in 2011. Crafters aren’t all retired people, either. Around 35% of those aged 18 to 34 are crafters, compared to 37% of those aged 35 to 54, and 35% for those aged 55 or above. Crafts are the engine behind entire businesses, often sold on Etsy, at markets or on multi-store channels. If you are interested in crafting and you don’t know where to start, why not do so with just one of the most popular crafts in America?
Sewing as a Hobby
Around 32.2 million people sew in the United States, both by hand and by machine. Some of the most mindful, relaxing activities include creating artwork using stitches like satin stitch and cross stitch. Kids can create beautiful embroidery work by using cross stitch or satin stitch kits bearing cute imagery they can later frame to decorate their rooms. As kids show greater ability and commitment, investing in equipment for novice sewers – such as an automatic sewing machine that creates embroideries through the selection of specific programs – will keep them motivated and inspired to create more complex designs. With a machine, kids will be able to complete quite impressive projects almost from the word go. Sewing is far more than a useful hobby; its meditative nature means it is a great natural way to reduce stress levels. Sewing also improves hand-eye coordination (making it a great activity to teach and enjoy alongside children), promotes brain health, and increases levels of ‘feel good hormone’, dopamine, the way all hobbies you enjoy do.
Around 36.5 million people take part in paper crafting, making everything from cute décor items such as wall art, to more practical items such as DIY notebooks, purses, gift boxes, decorate jars, birthday cards, and scrapbooks. Papercrafts are another deeply mindful pursuit. Many can take hours to complete yet fans will probably tell you that the hours seem to just whiz by as they get into ‘the zone’, completing all the stages they need to bring a project to life.
Some 37 million people take part in crafting, and that means that parents are just as involved as kids in this artful pursuit. A lazy Sunday can be anything but boring, with top choices for kids including greeting cards, stuffed toys, artwork made with sponges, and even homemade slime. Crafting is an ideal hobby for kids because it encourages them to make something special (a toy or décor piece) with materials they already have. Popular materials such as old toilet paper rolls, old clothing, and unused décor items can be upcycled into new toys and even outfits that stand apart from store-bought items.
Some 39.7 million make everything from beautiful fondant creations to homemade organic chocolate, which is great news for kids’ health. Healthy nutrition begins in the kitchen and that means that any activity that fosters an interest in ingredients and cooking methods is key. Parents can use this hobby to forego sugary foods and unhealthy fats, opting instead to make healthy treats like a raw apple pie, organic raw chocolate, or fruit-based ice-cream in artistic shapes.
Painting and Drawing
Pole position in the arts and crafts world goes to painting and drawing, which captivates around 41 million Americans. These arts have been the subject of countless studies, which have shown them to aid everything from stress to anxiety, depression, and even substance abuse recovery (when undertaken as part of an art therapy program). These fine arts are often used in a variety of therapeutic settings to promote communication between patient and therapist but also to encourage patients to understand the ambiguous feelings that can surround a decision to quit a harmful habit like addiction. In essence, art can reveal a lot more about oneself than conscious thought can.
If you have been neglecting your artistic side lately, why not take a cue from the millions of people who make arts and crafts a part of their daily or weekly lives? From sewing to scrapbooking, cooking to painting, there is something for everyone and an array of benefits that can be obtained from each activity. Beat the stress monster and create beautiful gifts or decorations; find something you are passionate about and if you can indulge in it with those you love, all the better!
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