I have talked about being in the zone in another blog. By being in the zone I mean a state of concentration on a task to the exclusion of other concerns. In the craft field this is an important state of mind, as it is when you are in the zone that you do your best work.
Recently I have become interested in the concept of mindfulness. Mindfulness is about being aware of the present moment, in tune with our senses and connected with the world. The way we live now discourages this way of living, automation means we do not have to concentrate on many daily processes and modern media means we have constant distractions from the real world. Consequently we tend to run on automatic pilot, divorced from what is going on around us. The idea of mindfulness is to bring yourself back to bodily sensations and immediate stimuli so you interact more meaningfully with the world
The idea for this blog came to me on Sunday when I was running a marquetry session during North Yorkshire Open Studios. At times the concentration in the room was almost palpable.
I think one of the reasons why everyone enjoyed the workshop was because of the sense of mindfulness brought about by the craft activity. Not just the sense of achievement in making something. I have noticed myself that during periods when I have not been in my workshop my mood is lowered, I am sure this is because I am missing whatever my brain gets from the mindful state I can be in when giving my full attention to making.
I suppose some people get their mindfulness fix from sport activities, the term “being in the zone” is familiar to golfers. But if sport is not your thing I would suggest a craft activity may provide the fix. Why not woodwork!
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