Your brain on art

August 25, 2015 2 min read

People who don't knit often come into the shop and say things like, "Oh, I could never knit - I'm not creative."  It makes me feel bad, because the truth is, everyone is creative and artistic.  It's just a matter of where our particular interests are and how we choose to display our creative talents.  As Picasso said, “Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up.”  As a knitter, you're an artist using your creativity to choose and combine colors, fibers, and stitch patterns into fabulous fiber art.

Art is so important in our lives.  I've talked a lot about how knitting keeps us sharp by offering learning opportunities that forge new pathways and stimulate brain growth.  Art is equally important and powerful.  Neurological research shows that making art improves cognitive functions by producing both new neural pathways and thicker, stronger dendrites.

Knitting provides a lot of artistic opportunities, but I think that part of what's so essential to brain growth is the learning aspect - doing something different that stretches you.  Mix it up a little.  At a recent retreat I tried working in fused glass, and I loved it!   Very different from knitting, but still creative and expressive. 

If stepping outside your knitting comfort zone sounds like fun, you're in luck!  The St. Mary's Arts Council, in conjunction with the Leonardtown Arts and Entertainment District, has invited top artists from around the region to come and teach a wide variety of classes for students of all levels.  The event is called Art Work Shop, and it will be Saturday, September 12th You can take classes in watercolor, ceramics, poetry, dance, photography, Ikebana, and more.  I'm especially excited that fiber artist Debra Lee will be teaching two workshops - one on mosaicknitting, and one on Shadow Knitting.  I hope you'll take at least one of Debra's classes, as well as something that's a little outside your comfort zone.  Your brain will thank you. 


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