Getting involved in Arts and Crafts Our Learning Support Assistant Sarah has written a personal account of her experience getting involved in arts and crafts. I have had a passion for arts and crafts from an early age and as an infant, at school, there was nothing more enjoyable and exciting than creative and imaginative playtime. Each day the sandpit, water tub, dressing up box and arts and craft trolley were rolled out of the cupboard and many an hour was spent making, building, exploring, experimenting and creating. I particularly recall being drawn to the sights and smells of the arts and crafts trolley which contained a huge range of exciting materials and resources including paper, card, cloth, embellishments, glitter, clay, plasticine and paints – which I can sometimes smell to this day! The fun continued at home and I would often be found outdoors in the garden or shed putting my curiosity and imagination to use and seeking out whatever I could get my hands on. Activities ranged from making mud pies, miniature furniture for the doll’s house and rose petal perfume to more adventurous projects such as go-carts and dens. The thrill of seeking out interesting materials and resources with which to create still exists and I’m constantly evolving and mixing up new and old ideas. I have a particular interest for working with textiles, natural resources, wood, glass, paper and card and over the years I have sampled and pursued a wide range of arts and crafts such as sketching, painting, printing, floristry, pottery and wreath making to name a few. I feel very fortunate to possess a lively imagination and sense of creativity. My skills and knowledge have and continue to bring about many opportunities and benefits. I sell fun and functional wares at local community craft events often offering free arts and craft activities for children, supply a select number of independent shops in my area and have facilitated arts and crafts workshops in a number of community settings including Fircroft College. The benefits of getting involved in creative projects, be it easy or challenging, are numerous. By giving it a go you are allowing yourself to express unique thoughts and ideas in a positive and safe way. The likely result is an all-round sense of achievement, a unique piece of work to be proud of and raised confidence levels. It is a known fact that whilst engaging creatively a different part of the brain is being stimulated, allowing you an opportunity to “zone out,” learn something new as well as have fun and relax. Arts and crafts can be enjoyed both in quiet solitude at home and as part of a group in a friendly, social environment such as Fircroft. It improves coordination and fine motor skills, allows for self –expression, triggers the imagination and levels of productivity, positivity and well – being and helps develop skills such as problem solving and critical thinking to name a few. I’m very lucky to have a bank of fun and relaxing activities to get stuck into at home which has been a blessing during the lockdown. Once college life returns I will look forward to sharing my skills, ideas and enthusiasm for all things arty and creative at Fircroft – where, I might add – hides an arts and crafts cupboard full of endless possibilities as well as six acres of garden and woodland to explore and a whole host of resources waiting to be discovered.