5 Important Books about the Benefits of Handmade
The handmade revolution has taken hold. Handcrafted goods site Etsy recieves more than one billion hits per month. Activities like beekeeping and farming have become urban endeavors done by people in between their corporate jobs and city lifestyles. But why is it that this trend has taken place? Why are people so infatuated with going back to the basics and crafting everything from soap to Christmas presents by hand instead of hitting up the Black Friday sales and dollar stores to get what they need? There is evidence to suggest that it's because making things by hand heals us as individuals and communities. The following five books all delve deeply into that topic.
1. Crochet Saved My Life
Crochet Saved My Life is about the mental and physical health benefits of crafting, specifically about the craft of crochet. In it I share my own story of dealing with depression and how crochet helped me to find my way through the darkness to the other side. I also share the stories of dozens of other women who crafted to heal from ailments as diverse as schizophrenia, PTSD, Chronic Lyme Disease and fibromyalgia. This book uses the personal stories and supplemental research to explore why it is that repetitive crafts and stress-relieving hobbies are part of a total wellness plan for people suffering from nearly any health condition.
2. Knitting for Good
Betsy Greer's book Knitting for Good talks about how knitting, as well as other crafts, can be used to benefit individuals as well as the larger world. Greer discusses how knitting fits in with her feminist and activist lifestyle. Like with Crochet Saved My Life, the book talks about how individuals benefit from the relaxation and meditative aspects of needlework. Then Greer gets into how crafting things from hand can be used to benefit communities, charities and to make social statements that benefit the world.
3. Made By Hand
MAKE Magazine founder Mark Frauenfelder has authored a book called Made by Hand: Searching for Meaning in a Throwaway World. In this book he talks about his own journey learning to make things from hand. He discusses gardening, building a chicken coop, hacking an espresso machine and more but more importantly he talks about how doing these things helped him feel more self-sufficient, explore his creativity, be closer with his family and experience many other benefits. This is an important book not only because he talks about the benefits of handmade but because he does so from a male perspective. This view is still underrepresented in the craft world today.
4. Craft Activism
Craft Activism takes a big picture look at how individuals that are part of the DIY movement can improve their experience while helping out the community and the larger world beyond. It provides practical advice, like how to work at a craft fair. It also provides ideas for using craft to support specific causes, raise awareness of issues and otherwise change the world one project at a time.
5. Yarn Bombing
Yarn Bombing is the definitive guide to an urban art form that is inspired by graffiti but uses yarn instead of paint to decorate communities. The book tells all about the yarnbombing movement, how it came to be and who the major players are. Yarn bombing is now commonly used to raise awareness about specific issues and events and this book gives a lot of great information for people who are interested in starting their own yarnbombing crews.