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How Crafting Opens the Door to Creativity – No It’s Not Too Late to Begin at 60!

By Barbara Greenleaf January 14, 2022 Lifestyle

When I was young, I couldn’t draw so I didn’t consider myself “artistic.” Now that I’m over 60, I know there are many ways one can express oneself creatively. Yet overcoming the idea that I was a no-talent presented a high hurdle – especially since my older sister is a professional artist!

Despite my success as a writer, I considered myself a diligent researcher and workaday journalist and nothing more. Oh, the restricting labels we put on ourselves…

The Accidental Hobby

Then one day, in an effort to use up some old yarn and upcycle a few plastic containers, I began wrapping discarded pill vials. The process was soothing and the results promising. Just for fun, I rummaged through my junk jewelry drawer for embellishments, and voila, a new hobby was born.

I was delighted to find an activity for which I don’t have to study up, practice, professionalize, or monetize. I could just have fun with it. If one pill bottle was a dud, so what? Out it went. Best of all, I could finish these simple projects in a night.

They also satisfied my desire to keep the detritus of my life out of the county dump. It’s amazing the amount of stuff we all acquire for one-time use, the fact of which became painfully clear as I confronted all the things I’d been accumulating: tins, jars, gift wraps, ribbons, buttons, boxes, and Christmas gifts too ugly to use/too valuable to throw out.

Expanding My World and Myself

As women over 60, we have to keep pushing out our world or it can get very small. Emboldened by my first foray into crafting, I started to seek out garage sales and thrift shops for unusual additions to my assemblages.

I began to watch YouTube tutorials. Finally, I kicked it up a notch by going on a crafting retreat. I felt like a fraud at first, but as I got better, I found the process of making art from scrap ever more enjoyable.

Little by little, I saw that yes, I was “artistic,” which made me look at myself in a whole new way. I also got braver. I started to collage old shoes and wrap the pages of old books into adornments for my crafting projects.

I experimented with painting glass vases from the florist and I tried pour-over painting, which, incidentally, was the messiest thing I’ve ever done and the most fun.

As an added bonus, I found that crafting helped me loosen up in my writing, which led to my new book of humorous personal essays, THIS OLD BODY: And 99 Other Ways to Laugh at Life. It’s amazing how one creative venture leads to another!

Based on my own experience, I heartily recommend crafting as a way to access your inner creative self. “Artistry” comes in so many sizes and shapes for women over 60. Isn’t it time you tried to find the one that’s right for you?

Do you consider yourself creative? What are your creative outlets? Are you setting aside time for them? Please share your most recent artistic projects with our community!

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The Author

Barbara Greenleaf is the author of the new self-help book, Parents of Adult Children: You Are Not Alone, based on her long-running blog. She has also written a history of childhood and a self-help for working mothers. Barbara was on the staff of The New York Times.

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