Geeking Science: Ancient Arts and Crafts in an Electronic Age

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I need art to stay sane. Right now, as mentioned earlier this month in my Magical Words post, I’m not doing any. But I need to get out in the soil and garden, break out my silks and embroider, stain my fingers with ink, and smear clay over the world in one huge mosaic. I need to do it soon.

And now I have scientific backing about how important it is!

In a computer age, where things are measured in the nanosecond and the end-product is somewhere on the interwebs, having something that slowly grows, where you can gain skill and measure the difference with your own eyes and fingers, is calming in a way a computer game never can be. We are built for slightly repetitive tasks where we gain improvement and have a product at the end; basket weaving and gathering herbs are just two examples.

Crafts heal the mind and body, fighting depression and social anxiety. According to research, the benefits include:

relaxation; relief from stress; a sense of accomplishment; connection to tradition; increased happiness; reduced anxiety; enhanced confidence, as well as cognitive abilities (improved memory, concentration and ability to think through problems). (Luckman, 2018)

Basically crafting is a form of mediation, giving similar results including reduction of stress and fighting inflammation. Moving the fingers to create something that requires concentration, but not thought, gives the brain the time out desperately needed to decouple from the brain weasels presenting scenarios of disaster. 

“Playing” with arts and crafts provides the body something to do while the brain is relaxing. And the brain relaxes best, interestingly enough, when it gets used in a new way. Working in crafting involves:

many different areas of your brain. It can work your memory and attention span while involving your visuospatial processing, creative side and problem-solving abilities. (Wilson, 2015)

I could use some of that in my life right now. Mediation, relief from stress, and increased happiness. Maybe I do have time to break out the pins and needles.



Luckman, Susan. “In Our Brutal Modern World, Science Shows Our Brain Need Craft More Than Ever”. The Conversation. 2018 July 28. (last viewed 1/26/2019:

Wilson, Jacque. “This is your brain on crafting.” CNN. 2015 January 5. (last viewed 1/26/2019: