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Different Forms of Making Art

By: Janie Franz - Updated: 15 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Stress music singing theater

Creating something is a pleasurable experience but it can also help us cope with stress in our lives. Fortunately, there are many different ways we can create.

Traditional Art and Its Pitfalls

When most of us think of making art, we think of drawing and painting. If friends or teachers have criticised our work in the past, it may be difficult for us to consider making art again.

Though we may decide to share our art with others, making art for relaxation remains a tool for self expression and introspection. The product is far less important than the process, and almost anyone can do it. Drawing and painting, however, may not for everyone. Here are some non-traditional ways to make art that you might like to try:


Moving our bodies to music becomes a way of making art as we put steps we have learned into our own combinations. Our bodies, minds, and spirits can also become so immersed in what we are doing that we step into that meditative moment–even in the midst of wild music.


Tending a garden can also be a creative and relaxing activity. As we plant and cultivate, we are creating beauty. Gardening is considered by some advocates of Buddhism as a form of walking meditation where the practitioner focuses on how the foot touches the ground and rises to touch again. Here, the gardener is mindful of each plant and what he or she is doing with it. Planting, hoeing, weeding, and mowing the lawn can be restful activities even though they require physical labour.


Working with fabrics and textiles is another way to make art. We can sew clothes, make home decor, create dolls, or piece quilts. These items are useful and take creativity to make, even when working with a pattern. Other people enjoy needlework in various forms such as needlepoint, crewel, or cross stitch.


The popular pastime of making scrapbooks is another great way to be creative. Working quietly with paper, glue, photos, and other materials, we can immerse ourselves in making memory pages and forget about the stressors in our lives.


Many of our fathers found relaxation at their workbenches. Today, power tools aren't just for men any more. They have become very lightweight and portable so that they are easier to use and handle. Making shelves, birdhouses, benches, or even fine furniture can help us reduce stress.


Journaling allows us to write out our thoughts about anything. Some of us will choose to write about things that trouble us. Others will use writing as a way to create new worlds. Sometimes, these works are shared with others. Sometimes, they are for our eyes only.

This activity, however, may not be relaxing for someone who works with words all day. If this option is chosen, changing how those words are put down may be the key to making it a stress reliever. If we write on computers, a relaxing break may be using a pen and paper as we lounge in the garden.

Storytelling and Theatre

Storytelling can be a delightful way to use our imaginations. All we need is a story, usually a folk tale or children’s book. Then we retell it in own words with actions and expressive language. This can be great fun to do for our children, grandchildren, or to the neighbourhood kids.

Some of us take the idea of storytelling a step further and pursue acting. Churches, clubs, and community theaters are good places to look for others who share your interest in theatre. Though there might be a bit of stage fright if we are new to theatre, acting can be exciting for us because we take ourselves out of our world and become someone else in another one.


Finally, music is a creative activity that can help us relax. Though we can listen to music and benefit by its rhythms and melodies, making music will put us into a more meditative and creative state. We don’t have to be the next rock idol, but we can enjoy playing an instrument or singing. We can also enjoy making music with others. We shouldn't worry about being good enough. We should concentrate on the experience, the process. A few of us may decide to perform for others, but it isn't necessary. Making music for ourselves should be our primary goal. It is in that process that we can disengage from the worries of our lives and find something meaningful in the music.

Making art should be fun and shouldn't be tied to a finished product. We can use these activities to step away from the cares of the world and focus inwardly on creating. In this way, we use a valuable tool to manage our stress.

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