Why We Make: Self-Expression

Today, we're kicking off a new series here on the blog: the Why We Make series.

This series will delve into the different reasons people choose to make and how those reasons are good for the soul. The Why We Make series will not only enumerate the different ways that makers fill themselves up by creating things, but invite us all to experience different reasons for making to deepen our understanding of our crafts and ourselves.

This post in the Why We Make series is all about making as self-expression. Self-expression is the process of taking your internal thoughts, dreams, and ideas and putting them out into the world as something that can be experienced by others.

Through the process of self-expression, we come to know ourselves better. In order to truly express yourself, you have to have a good idea of what you want to express. This requires questioning your motives and values. As we all try to be the best version of ourselves, the process of self-expression forces us to define what that version looks like and cares about.

Methods of self-expression are as many and varied as the people who express themselves. The benefits of self-expression are not only reaped from verbal or written creations. Psychologists have known for years: "Self-expression through music and art acts as an alternative form of catharsis and has been used in pain management and substance abuse groups as healthier outlets for inner conflicts and emotions (Adelman & Castricone, 1986; Bailey, 1986)."*

And, yes, those benefits extend to knitting! Remember, self-expression is the process of making internal thoughts physical, and what more physical is there than a crafted item that you wear, use, or give as a gift?

Here are some ways to express yourself through making:

  • Create a garment that you feel confident and proud of wearing.
  • Make something for a loved one to show you care.
  • Make something for your home that reflects who you are - maybe a cozy cabled pillow for cuddling next to the fire, maybe a snarky political cross-stitch.

Is self-expression your motivation for making? Do you have a favorite way to express yourself through making? If you're not a self-expression maker, why do you make? Will you give expressing yourself through knitting a try? Drop a comment below and get the conversation started!

*Quote is from "Culture and Self-Expression" by Heejung S. Kim and
Deborah Ko. Linked here.