Whether you boast an artistic streak or are flat out differentiating your macramé from your crochet or your acrylics from your oil paints, research has proven art is the perfect therapy
“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life,” Pablo Picasso
Anecdotally, artists the world over will tell you that art is therapy. But did you know that many, many studies have also proven that same point? In 2007, Chloe Bell and Steven Robbins looked at the “Effect of Art Production on Negative Mood”. In their controlled trial, 50 adults aged 18-30 were randomly assigned to either create an artwork or to view and sort a series of art prints. Three measures of overall negative mood and of anxiety were collected before and after each intervention. They demonstrated significantly greater reductions in negative mood and anxiety in the art production group. They proved the simple act of creating a work of art produced dramatic reductions in negative mood. In 2012, Reneevan der Vennet and Susan Serice also proved that colouring a mandala pattern reduces anxiety.
“The creative adult is the child who survived.”
Let’s get one thing clear – art is not just about little kids and stubby Crayola crayons. The recent adult colouring-in book craze was proof of that. There were, and still are, a multitude of colouring-in books themed specifically for adults.
Creating art, whether that’s meticulously colouring in a detailed sheet, putting paint on a canvas or crafting something with hand tools, is an effective way to stimulate your brain and has many proven mental health benefits – dementia patients have seen improved quality of life via creating art. All types of art are generally relaxing. Relaxation lowers stress and leaves you mentally calm. Other studies have shown that producing art enhances problem-solving skills, boosts self-esteem and provides a sense of accomplishment.
“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”
Colour My Pot is a ceramics studio in Cleveland, on Brisbane’s bayside, offering a variety of classes for adults who are either looking to flex their artistic muscle or just take some time out to do something fun. Customers choose a bisque-fired ceramic piece from the range available then set about decorating that piece with the paints and tools provided. One week later, once the item is clear glazed and fired, customers can pick up their finished masterpiece.
Colour My Pot director Fleur Colgan says she gets a good mix of customers through her studio, from little kids to seniors and novices to experts, but one of the growing areas of her business are adult classes and social painting events which are often booked out well in advance. She regularly sees groups of friends meet up to enjoy each other’s company just as much as they enjoy the artform itself.
“It’s a really popular thing,” Fleur says. “People love to come along, be social and paint a piece – there’s no thinking involved, it’s all about relaxing with it and you get a lovely reward at the end.”
“Art can permeate the very deepest part of us, where no words exist,” Eileen Miller
Fleur often sees customers “lose themselves in art”.
“They might come in a little hesitant to start with, thinking they can’t paint. But then I see their body language change. Painting seems to bond strangers.”
Fleur says there’s nothing better than watching her customers unwrap their finished ceramic pieces on their return visit. She says there is such joy in their faces when they realise that they’ve actually created a piece of art.
Colour My Pot’s next adult ceramics class in on Friday, December 9. Visit their website and/or Facebook page for details and bookings.
“Art is our one true global language. It knows no nation, it favours no race, and it acknowledges no class. It speaks to our need to reveal, heal and transform. It transcends our ordinary lives and lets us imagine with is possible,” Richard Kamler
Creating art has the same therapeutic effect on kids as it does on adults. Speech pathologist and occupational therapist Samantha Daley says painting pictures and manipulating art and craft materials increases sensory feedback through the use of different textures and colours, which are crucial for a child’s brain development. Being creative increases independent thinking and adaptive problem-solving.
“The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul,” Dieter Uchtdorf
Meet Make Create at Byron Bay provides a nurturing space where children develop these essential learning skills and create a world of wonder. They offer term-based weekly classes in painting, drawing, crafting, sculpture and textiles that will extend on what your child might be doing at school in art class. The range of materials used is very broad and the focus is very much on 3D creations. There is of course, an element of ‘art’ in everything they offer but Meet Make Create classes tend to be a more tactile and dexterous than a pure art-based class. Between now and Christmas you can learn to sew (four-week course) or even make Christmas decorations at the studio.
“Art is being free from all of the world’s heaviness.”
JOIN IN THE FUN
Here are some ideas for where you and the kids can get your creativity on!
- Colour My Pot: Ceramics studio at Cleveland. Drop in to paint ceramics or sign up for a workshop, www.colourmypot.com
- Meet Make Create: Art and craft studio at Byron Bay, www.meetmakecreate.com.au
- The Craft Parlour: A sewing and crafting workspace at Palm Beach, www.thecraftparlour.com.au
- Cork and Chroma: A “paint and sip” studio offering various workshops in painting at South Brisbane, www.corkandchroma.com.au
- The RAW Art Workshop: Art classes available for toddlers, after-school kids and adults at West End. School holiday program also available, www.rawart.com.au
- The Cubby House Byron Bay: Workshops for kids, teens and adults including pottery wheel throwing, handbuilding with clay and Christmas crafts, for example, www.thecubbyhousebyronbay.com.au