Thursday, 27 March 2014

Creative Therapy

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to catch the 'Frayed: Textiles on the Edge' exhibition in Norfolk, which explored how people have made textiles as a form of occupational or creative therapy. On show were some fascinating historic textiles, but the one I was drawn to most was this:

Bed-hangings by Anna Margaretta Brereton, c.1801-5
As you know, I'm making lots of hexie patterned pottery at the moment, and seeing this just hooked me in even further!

The story is that between 1801-5, whilst in mourning following the sudden death of her eldest son, this lady immersed herself in creating this extraordinarily beautiful counterpane and bed hangings.

How many hexies must she have pieced together for the whole thing??!
Well, my preoccupation with hexagons has not yet lasted four years, like hers, but you never know!

Hexie pattern mapped out onto wet clay slab
I do find it quite therapeutic, just like she did.  

Fired once and now glazed and ready for second firing
Creativity is obviously a means of artistic expression, but just as importantly, it is often meaningful activity which helps in times of difficulty.  I heard somewhere recently that when a person is totally absorbed in 'creating', they get into 'the zone', a place where temporarily they transcend normal thought processes.

Close up of  hexie patterned bowl - after second firing and finished
I'm sure that when it comes to designing the next pattern range for our homewares collection, hexagons are going to play a big part!
But for now, these are the four quilt block patterns to choose from and three lucky winners of our Homewares Giveaway have to do just that!

The four pattern ranges in the Homewares Collection

A big thank you to all who took part.  Picked at random, the following names came up:

Annie at
Lisa at
Gill at

Please could you email me ( with your choice of item from the homewares shop:    - and your postal address.

So ... do you find your craft/creative activity therapeutic?  Do you get into 'the Zone'?  I know I do.



  1. Yes, I too zone out, my husband calls it that to! When I am in it everyone just leaves me alone until I am done. My last an hour or days! But I get a lot done!

    Thank you for the giveaway! I am super excited to get something from your shop!

  2. Brilliant! I am so happy to be one of the winners of your lovely giveaway Cathy, so excited to know I shall soon have one of your gorgeous patchwork mugs! Thank you!
    Love your hexy bowl, and what a sad story behind the hexy quilt and bed hangings - an amazing amount of work.
    Yes I get into the zone, and have had a good 4 or 5 hours today in the zone working on some projects, and my family, like Lisa's, know to leave me be until I'm done!
    I shall email you my details Cathy, and thank you once again!
    Enjoy the rest of the weekend!
    Gill xx

  3. Congratulations to the lucky winners!! I'm really enjoying seeing your work with hexagons.

  4. I've certainly noticed that the less I stitch, the more uncertain my mood!
    Congratulations, by the way, to the lucky winners, and very best wishes for the continuing success of your enterprise!

  5. Wow Cathy, thank you. Off to email you :)

    And yes, I'm often in the zone when I'm knitting.

  6. I love being in the zone!
    Congrats to the very lucky winners. :)
    V x

  7. Congratulations to the lucky winners of your giveaway. I think crafting must have helped many people through their grief over the years. I can get totally immersed in whatever I'm making, I put the tv on and find that the end of the programme has come and I haven't heard a single word.

  8. I am miles away when I am working. Envy you the visit to the Frayed exhibition, it looks to have been really fascinating with some lovely exhibits.

  9. Oh wow, 4 years...and it looks so beautiful, I bet you could look at that for hours and still find more things to see. I love antique and historic textiles. As for zoning out, I totally agree, it's one of the things I love about creating, in any form, I become wonderfully absorbed in it. I think my husband gets the same from running, I'm sure my waistline would approve if I can transfer some of my preferred zone out methods!

  10. I took a graduate class in creativity. It was a fun, learning experience. I think many people do get in the 'zone' when creating. Others don't as much. I get in a zone much of the time. I had my mother for five different high school classes. I could block out all the people around me. My boyfriend broke up with me the summer before our senior year. We sat beside each other in one of Mom's classes. I was still heartbroken. She was amazed that on quiz and test days, I could block him totally out. She had to make a rule that I put my papers down on the floor during a test. I was one of the better students and if I made a mistake, I would erase and erase or crumple my paper up to start over. She said that I was just to put my "mistakes" on the floor. It made the other students think the quiz might be harder than each thought. I had no idea I was even bothering anyone else - I was in my zone. I can also get in a zone playing on the computer - looking for inspiration or playing game, and not hear someone speaking to me. I love the hexies. I am hand piecing a Grandmother's Flower Garden. If this lady found hexies good therapy, maybe I need to think about more hexies. My second husband died last June and my daughter terminated an unsustainable pregnancy that day. Also, my daughter lost her father-in-law unexpected just before Christmas. So, maybe this would help in my grief process.

  11. if ' the zone' is feeling frustration and joy then yes.

  12. P.S Great bit in Popular Patchwork this month Cathy about your new venture! Well done! x

  13. I bet you will still be doing hexies for quite a wee whiley! The bowl is gorgeous as usual. Another one who goes into a 'zone' and manages to block most things out!


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