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Scand J Occup Ther. 2013 May;20(3):217-27. doi: 10.3109/11038128.2012.725182. Epub 2012 Sep 19.

The meaning of craft: craft makers' descriptions of craft as an occupation.

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School of Applied Educational Science and Teacher Education, University of Eastern Finland, Savonlinna, Finland.


The aim of this study is to examine how craft makers describe the meaning of craft as an activity in relation to their well-being. The study is based on an analysis of the written narratives of 92 textile craft makers aged 16 to 84. Based on the results, the well-being enhancing nature of craft as a meaningful occupation for those interested in crafting is evident. The significance of craft making as an occupation is described by the following three themes: (a) "the meaning and value of crafts", (b) "the feelings experienced during craft activity", and (c) "the holisticity and intentionality of craft-making". As an activity and a metaphor, craft making helped the participants to adjust to life situations. Elements of craft that enhance well-being can be traced to both the artefacts and the sense of achievement gained in producing them. The effects of craft include personal growth, development of physical and cognitive skills, control of one's body, thoughts, and feelings, as well as cultural and social awareness. The results indicate that the participants noticed the significance of craft as an agony- and stress-reducing and mind-calming activity. Holistic craft and ordinary craft played different roles in maintaining well-being.

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