A recent article in The Conversation lead me down a very interesting search for evidence based research on the benefits of craft, art and more specifically the occupation of our hands in an activity and its benefits to our mental health.
I didn't need to go far before I found Neutral Knitworks, a community engagement project first developed for National Science Week in 2014. So successful has it proven that hundreds of knit-ins have been held across the country – in regional towns, remote Indigenous communities, libraries, galleries, schools, hospitals and at community centres.
The pattern for each knit-in is simple: participants learn to knit, crochet or simply wrap woollen neurons while listening to an expert discuss brain and mind health. Topics have included how neurons work, the effect of cannabis on brain function, nurturing adolescent brains, the effect of dementia on neural pathways, neuroplasticity, and healthy brain ageing.
The beauty of Neural Knitworks is how the project extends the reach of scientific knowledge by engaging participants with hands on educational experiences that connect them with experts as they actually improve their own brain and mind health.
Yarn craft, with its mental challenges, social connection and mindfulness, helps keep brains fit by solving creative and mental challenges, developing eye-hand coordination and fine motor dexterity and increasing attention span.
For more check out the links below.