|"Aspens", by Constance Brewer, acrylic on canvas 2010|
So lately I’ve been thinking about creativity, and how mental and physical creativity relate to each other - at least for me. I’ve noticed that when I’m at my most creative knitting, spinning, weaving, sewing—really anything to do with my hands—I’m also having a good day at the writing desk writing poems and stories.
I went delving for research to back up my thoughts and came across this –
“New research is pointing to a possible link between bodily movement and creative thinking.
A rich body of recent work has suggested that such metaphors may derive from an actual and intimate link between abstract concepts and concrete experience, and that priming physical sensations can activate abstract ideas.
What if physical experiences not only activate existing knowledge, but also trigger cognitive processes that enlarge knowledge in creative new ways?
Actual physical acts appear to activate the abstract processes that overcome mental rigidity and make new connections—the nuts and bolts of creativity. Something as simple as gesturing with alternate hands, or literally getting out of the box, may eliminate unconscious barriers that restrict thinking.”
Of course many of the research articles wanted to talk about physical exercise and the creative boost one might get from it. I postulate that you don’t have to go for a run or do laps in a pool to get the benefit of enhanced creativity. The physical act of crafting provides the stimulus the brain needs to boost creativity. But crafting is creative itself, you say. It is, but there are also elements of repetition in most crafting that leads to an often zen-like mental state.
In knitting it’s the stitches of the pattern, in weaving it’s the rhythmic back and forth of the shuttle, in lino block printmaking it’s the continual cutting away of small pieces of lino from the whole. All these repetitions become second nature after a time, and allow one to let the mind drift into a higher state.
Creativity begets creativity.
I used to think I was a visual learner, now I think I was mistaken, that I was a more kinesthetic learner, hence all the doodling in the margins of notebooks and clicking my pen and bouncing in my chair. I had to be engaged in activity before my brain switched fully on.
“Some experts equate the benefits of crafting-induced flow with the experience of meditation.
Being involved in any meaningful creative task that requires using your hands, according to physician- writer team Carrie and Alton Barron, can help elevate your mood, stimulate your senses, and foster internal well-being.” 
I come up with my better poems when engaged in the simple act of weaving, or knitting. By putting my body on autopilot, I find I can engage my brain in a more meaningful way. Without the risk of tripping over my feet and face planting. How about you, what kinds of activities engage your creative side?
psychologicalscience.org/ index.php/news/full-frontal- psychology/the-physical-act- of-creativity.html
articles/lifestyle/how-being- more-creative-improves-your- mental-and-physical-health. html
|"In Place" by Constance Brewer, watercolor, after a painting "Vanguard"by artist Stephanie Law|