This month I am so excited to share my first blog in my wellbeing series, where I am sharing some incredible people who are passionate about mental health and share ideas on how we can be a bit kinder to ourselves.
Meet Lisa from CreateWell Project in Gloucester
Hi Lisa,, tell us who are you and what do you do?
I run CreateWell Project which is a creativity for wellbeing brand. I run art and craft workshops in Gloucester, private lessons and also design my own range of wellbeing and self care products.
What led you into your journey of creating for mental health?
I’ve always found being creative beneficial to my own wellbeing. Art was my favourite subject at school and I
found it was the one thing I could lose myself in. I was a crafty child and was always encouraged to be creative and to pursue my passion. I went through a really difficult time in my life around 4 years ago which really opened my eyes to mental health difficulties and how important being creative became for me, it became my lifeline. Up until this point I had tended to ‘push through’ being very busy and prioritised everyone else above myself. Though I loved to craft, I rarely sat down to do it, and if I did, I felt that there had to be a reason for the thing I was making, a gift for someone else and never for me.
I was surprised with how little I knew about my own mental health and ways to help myself. I taught myself to crochet which is now my ultimate favourite craft and is the craft I return to again and again. I now aim to share the knowledge I’ve learned with others through my business and working with young people in education.
What type of things do you make and where can we find them?
I find affirmations and positive phrases really helpful so I love to design postcards, jewellery and stickers with key phrases such as ‘you’ve got this’, ‘brave’ and ‘keep moving forwards’. My ‘you’ve got this’ earrings are loved by lots of people and something I often wear when I need a bit of a confidence boost! I will also be making pin badges very soon and am developing the designs in this range. I sell wellbeing packs and craft kits which make wonderful gifts. I want to expand this range into a ‘create your own’ pick and mix style customisable product and have lots of ideas. I write my own crochet patterns, they are written in full and are designed for easy use as crochet is so awesome for wellbeing. I love helping as many people as possible to access this craft. I have a small limited edition collection of earrings coming to the website very soon featuring natural forms such as pressed leaves and my original pattern designs.
You can find my products in my shop at www.createwellproject.com. My shop is a work in progress and you are always welcome to contact me with any enquiries. Keep your eyes peeled on my social media too for limited edition products, workshop updates and one offs, we’re on Facebook and Instagram.
How do you think being creative helps our mental wellbeing?
Creativity can be really mindful, it enables us to forget about what is going on around us and in our lives and makes us be really focussed in the moment. It makes us zoom in on what we are doing and give ourselves time to unwind. This is so beneficial for our brains which can get really caught up in worries about the past or future.
It’s also really important to know how stress affects our bodies physically, we may feel symptoms of fatigue, tension, aches and pains or lack of motivation. Being mindful through creativity or other means such as walking, can help to calm our bodies. It slows our breathing, which in turn lowers your heart rate.
Learning or developing a skill is also really positive for our mental health as we can feel proud of our progress We see our skills improve and feel a sense of accomplishment. We may also build social connections helping with reducing feelings of loneliness. Being involved in a group, and helping with community projects give us a purpose and feeling of belonging. We become part of a craft community whether that is online, through a physical group, using a crafty hashtag or sharing patterns or tips with others.
What workshops do you do and how can people find them?
I run a popular fortnightly mixed ability crochet group in Churchdown in Gloucester on a Thursday evening. I will also be introducing an improvers/intermediates group in the near future for those wishing building their skills. I teach complete beginners that have never touched a hook and those that know a little bit but want to improve or have gotten stuck watching a YouTube video. We are a friendly mixed bunch of abilities and ages and all are welcome. I offer different class options and class packs, some people come along with their own projects and join in with chatting and drinking tea. Others come to learn a skill so there is also a learners option where we show you how to crochet, to follow a pattern and teach stitches and techniques.
I also run a mixed range of workshops in a variety of crafts, I try to do these around once a month. I run some mixed adults and children’s sessions which has been lovely to run, we did Halloween and remembrance day crafting working on a collaborative community project. In the past I have run decoupage, macramé, weaving, needle felting, wreath making and mindful drawing. There really is something for everyone.
You can find information about upcoming workshops on my website and on social media. All classes can be booked in my shop on www.Createwellproject.com. You can also sign up to my mailing list so that you never miss an update, via email or WhatsApp. You can sign up on my website, or email me to be added at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What are your hopes for the future?
I have sooo many ideas to develop CreateWell and hope that we have an exciting future ahead! I would love to have a physical shop of my own to run workshops from and to sell my products. I’d also really love it to be a social space where you can pop in and do a drop in craft, leaf through a craft book in a comfy armchair and have a cup of tea. I’d love to run community events such as art exhibitions, plant and clothes swaps and provide a space for other creatives to sell their wonderful handmade products. I’d like to offer work experience schemes to provide people with opportunities to gain employability skills in a safe supported environment. I’d love to run more workshops, an after school club and provide support to disadvantaged groups. It would be great to host well-being based events and I’m keen to do more community projects.