If you’ve discovered the amazing Craft as Therapy community, then you already know its founder, colorful crochet designer Amanda O’Sullivan. This week she’s chatting with us about the healing powers of crafting and the wonderful crafting community on Instagram.
Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you started crafting?
I’m Mandy, a self confessed crochet addict and designer. I live in sunny Australia with my husband, 3 children, 4 alpacas, 2 cats, 1 dog, and 9 chickens. I love living in the country as I am constantly inspired by the views around me.
I have enjoyed craft since I was a little girl and over the years I’ve dabbled in painting, sewing, quilting, paper craft, and sketching, but when I learned to crochet a couple of years ago I gave up all other crafts. That said, I have a deep admiration for all crafts and crafters.
The thing that brings me the most pride about the Crafts As Therapy community is the way that individuals communicate and connect with other likeminded people. There are no judgements, just support."
What inspired you to start Craft As Therapy?
I was going through a challenging time in my life a few years ago. My mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer and my chronic illness was flaring out of control. I turned to craft in the form of paper flowers, to help me unwind and destress. Having a distraction didn’t eliminate my problems, but it certainly helped to keep my stress to a reasonable level. Whenever I shared my paper flowers on Instagram, I added the hashtag #craftastherapy. It wasn’t long before others were asking if they could use the tag too. Of course! I said, everyone’s welcome to use it. It wasn’t long after that I created the @craftastherapy instagram account and Craft As Therapy website and asked some fellow crafters to jump on board to help me run things.
...a mandala made in any way (painted, sketched, woven) has wonderful meditative qualities."
Do you have one mindfulness project that you would recommend to people looking to harness the positive aspects of crafting?
I can’t go past a mandala as a form of meditation. Crochet mandalas are everywhere at the moment, but a mandala made in any way (painted, sketched, woven) has wonderful meditative qualities. There’s something about a circle that has always calmed my mind and the introduction of a wide range of colors into that circle is a great form of meditation for me. It just brings a sense of peace. I really love mandalas, which is why I’ve designed a few of my own.
Mandalas for mindfulness
You must have come across a lot of interesting stories about how crafts help people! Could you share one?
I hear a wide range of stories connected with #craftastherapy. They range from the extreme cases of terminal illness to those who use craft as a way to unwind at the end of a busy day. Everyone’s story is equally valid. When I think of one story in particular, it’s the story of my moderators. Each of them has their own reason for using the #craftastherapy tag. Among us are anxiety sufferers, carers, psychologists, those plagued with chronic illness, and those who use craft just to stay mentally healthy. It’s this wide range of experiences that provide the Craft as Therapy community with kind and compassionate moderators. The thing that brings me the most pride about our community is the way that individuals communicate and connect with other likeminded people. There are no judgements, just support.
If you were a yarn, which one would you be?
Patons Summer Cotton – conservative but reliable!