Mindful making

The article that resonated with me most in issue 4 of Project Calm magazine was this one, by Melanie Barnes, about the primal desire to make things with our hands.  (I also loved this issue’s focus on the sea, as this is one of the places I find calm and stillness).

The ideas in this article linked well with the philosophy of creative adventurers such as Morwhenna, who I mentioned in a previous blog post.  Since writing that post, I’ve signed up to attend one of Morwhenna’s events, a Little Creative Adventure.  Morwhenna describes her session as “engaging with our surroundings in a curious and mindful way though creative exercises, collecting clues as we go” and aims to create “little sparks of inspiration to gain insights”.  This fits very well with the ideas explored in Melanie’s article, about using the creative process to gain mindfulness and connect to our inner selves.

I certainly find that I achieve a state of flow when I’m making things.  Hours can pass while I’m absorbed in a project and I sometimes emerge from my craft room only when my stomach starts rumbling!  But I don’t always have time for these longer projects in between the daily necessities of work, etc. so the idea of micro making is a useful one – projects that don’t have to take long, but involve intense focus on the task.

Many of the micro making ideas on this page are things that I have tried at some point.  However, although I’ve collected lots of lovely pebbles, I’ve never actually got round to decorating one.  So, one of today’s creative tasks was to go for a mindful walk along the beach, choose a beautiful pebble and then decorate it.

I actually ended up finding a fossil – a Devil’s Toenail (or Gryphaea), which are very common on my little patch of beach. Since this was supposed to be a quick project, I used the Sharpie that was sitting in my pen pot, instead of hunting around for the finer pen that would have given me a more precise look.   I was inspired by a post I’d seen on Twitter this morning about Florence Pindrys‘ decorated shells to start by tracing over the lines that were already there and then I filled in the gaps with random patterns.  [Edit: It turns out that the Twitter post incorrectly attributed these shells to Florence Pindrys, but I have also fallen in love with Florence’s colourful painted shells!  The shells shared on Twitter are by Barbara Moloney Callen]. I’ve admired these beautiful shells before on Pinterest, but it was another great example of synchronicity how they popped up again on Twitter today.  The finished result isn’t perfect (and nowhere near as beautiful as Florence’s intricate artwork), but it could work well as part of a larger collection, probably in my garden amongst my collection of driftwood, pebbles and pinecones.


  1. Hi Melanie,

    Thank you so much for your article and mentioning me and even adding the link to my store. I really appreciate it.

    However, the twitter account #womenarts1 gave me credit for the wrong hand painted seashells. The beautiful shells featured on that tweet are done with a blue sharpie. My (also beautiful 😉) shells are hand painted.

    I can’t attach a photo here but you can see them on my instagram account @butterfly.rouge and my Facebook page ButterflyRouge.



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