In today’s society, the concept of a hobby generally comes off as an insignificant way to fill time. Why is that? What’s unimportant about the things you do or create out of pure interest—not because you’ll be paid, or because someone expects it of you, or because everyone else is doing it—but just because it interests you, and you like it? If you read my thoughts on Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic, you know that creating just ‘cause you want is actually incredibly important and one killer excuse to start making things.
Aside from the fact that hobbies teach us about ourselves and our desires to create, they’re also necessary ways to help us de-stress. Given that a hobby is a laidback, low-risk type of activity, it’s one of best relaxation tools. The break from work, the gratification of creating something—anything, and the often repetitive motion (think painting, knitting, etc.) are all things that are known to put our minds at ease. Creative tasks specifically can improve our mental strength, and even help us at work… No wonder adult coloring books have taken over the Barnes & Noble shelves—it’s not just that we grown-ups are starting to see the benefits of being creative, we also REALLY want to make stuff. Just ‘cause.
One other surprising benefit? The connections you make through creative hobbies. If you’re looking to make something, there are artistic communities everywhere (with good reason). If you’re local to Los Angeles, Makers Mess in Silverlake has separate classes for people big and little, and the current lineup includes hairstyling, watercolor textures (with the insanely talented Ana Victoria Calderon, who you can also learn from on Skillshare), succulent gardens, and more. These all-inclusive workshops arm you with supplies (and finished product), so you walk away with the tools to continue your newfound artistic endeavor (and maybe a new friend too).
Photos of watercolor artist Ana Victoria. See all her workshops here.
There are Makerspaces like this all over the US, whether formal classes or casual crafty hangs like the ones on Meetup.com. But for those of you who aren’t quite ready to explore your creativity with strangers (though we do recommend the experience!), tutorial-based websites like For The Makers (which is no longer posting new DIYs but full of archives for you to craft your way through) allow you to gather materials on your own and follow printable instructions to create your piece. There are tons of sites out there that send you everything you need to get crafty via subscriptions that deliver supplies and directions straight to your door. (We Make Collective is a MVL favorite.) Even if you’re creating solo, the art community on Instagram is contagious, and once you start using hashtags like #makersmovement and #diyproject, you won’t ever want to stop meeting likeminded adults who love seeing your work, and love showing off theirs.
“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” Maya Angelou
Which art project will you start next?