Craft Your Way to Calm: How Pottery and Painting Are Helping People Relieve Stress

updated May 3, 2019
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(Image credit: Adrienne Breux )

It has been a year, so if you find yourself looking for new ways to relax, you’re not alone. Crafting has become a new form of stress relief for many people looking for a way to soothe their anxious souls. While crafting itself is nothing new, it’s use as a therapeutic activity is on the rise. Like adult coloring books before them, pottery, crochet and painting have become new go-tos for stressed out folks looking for new ways to wind down.

A recent New York Times article “Pottery is the New Pilates” looks at the rise of pottery and other crafts as a source of relaxation:

Strung out by work, politics, thorny relationships, an empty nest or just too much digital activity, many New Yorkers are showing up at studios like this one, using the wheel as a balm and a corrective.

Professionals are flocking to pottery wheels and weaving looms to decompress from the daily grind of corporate life, the endless news cycle and to create something beautifully imperfect.

Simone Martin-Newberry, a printmaker and self proclaimed plant person steps away from printmaking when she wants to relax:

I find braiding very soothing. Maybe it reminds me of the hours (and hours) I spent as a child, sitting on the floor between my older sister’s legs, her hands in my hair and Sleeping Beauty on repeat on the TV. These days, when I need some craft therapy, I braid long lengths of natural jute rope and then string on large wooden beads. When I’m finished, I hang these boho garlands around my home, nestled among my plants and around doorways and window frames.

Our House Tour editor Adrienne started painting Camellias a year ago:

Camellias are one of my favorite flowers not just because they are big, bold blooms, but because they begin to pop up on bushes here in Louisiana around December. I like to snap photos of beautiful blooms I spot around my neighborhood on my walks, and I find it very relaxing to attempt to paint them in the evenings. There’s just something so hypnotizing about layering colors on top of colors in an attempt to capture nature’s beauty. I don’t come even close, of course, but it’s very soothing to try.

Do you craft to relax? What’s your medium of choice?

Crafting ideas to get you started: