Crafting Wellbeing: Exploring how Digital Media can Extend craft-based Textiles and Contribute to Health and Wellbeing

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Session Title:

  • Technology, expression & wellbeing

Presentation Title:

  • Crafting Wellbeing: Exploring how Digital Media can Extend craft-based Textiles and Contribute to Health and Wellbeing

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Abstract:

  • Many domestic craft-based textile activities, undertaken by large numbers of the population, have provided generations with physical and mental stimulation and outlets for creativity, contributing to a sense of identity and providing social interaction when undertaken in groups or when ideas, patterns or products are shared. Participants in craft activities, such as knitting, crochet and sewing, report that these are lifelong activities and an important part of their lives. However, domestic craft-based textile activities are often dismissed as involving low-levels of creativity, and research into what these craft-based textile activities contribute to physical and mental health and wellbeing is limited. This paper will draw on an experimental art research project, using digital media technologies and practices, to examine the techniques and practices used in crochet lace. The project explores the creative potential of domestic craft-based textile activities, creates tools for creativity, and offers alternative possibilities for the future of craft-based textile activities using digital media. In addition, it will report on research investigating how craft-based textile activities contribute to health and wellbeing. The implications of these projects are that digital media can potentially extend domestic craft-based activities and open up new sites of creative endeavour. In addition, the production of digital media software applications, and games based on craft-based textile forms and content, could potentially enable older craft-based textile practitioners to engage in these activities despite infirmity, or reduced dexterity, and contribute to ongoing wellbeing. Furthermore, the experimental art project and research aims to introduce digital media and new technologies to members of the population whose needs are under-represented in digital media developments, by building on familiar creative processes.

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