Quilting and wellbeing

Burt E , Atkinson A 2011, ‘The relationship between quilting and wellbeing’, Journal of Public Health, vol. 34, no. 1, pp. 54-59

This article documents a small study looking at the reported effects quilting had on the wellbeing of a group of Scottish women. The sample is not selected for those with mental or physical illness, but simply by virtue of belonging to a single sewing group. The study found that positive benefits of quilting reported included having a creative outlet that may have not been satisfied in other areas of their life, making something functional that then could be donated adding purpose to the activity, social connection and working with colour which could enhance mood. The particular benefit I am interested in relates to the process driven flow state, analogous to mindfulness, that can result from working closely in a creative capacity. Here this was reported by women as a distraction, relaxation and relief from worries and anxiety that had benefits that extended beyond the immediate making period. In regard to my current work, I find that there is a mindfulness in process that sustains my enthusiasm for making. It’s a bit more unclear how the information in this study translates into benefit for the viewer in my work. Certainly the use of colour to give pleasure is one aspect that I have a long history of embracing. It’s possible that the accessible art work I present could also have the effect of stimulating a deeper engagement with creativity in the viewer.

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