Mary of YarnTangler says, “I live in Shropshire, England with my two girls, my partner Henry, and my Mum and Dad. We are a crafty family and run a yurt making and rentals business from our home workshop. I love making things and I believe passionately in the practical, social and therapeutic value of craft.”
She goes on to share,
“I only came to know about Wink’s work recently and, sadly, I only really examined her work carefully when I heard about her death. It is clear from her website that she touched many people and her colorful, joyful approach to crochet is refreshing.
I wanted to contribute to the project because I have spent some years working to promote crafts and the therapeutic value of making things. I have seen so many people blossom and heal because they found their “thing” that helps them through. I don’t think it really matters what the craft is – it could be tapestry, spoon carving, calligraphy … the list is endless – but there is something in the repetition, rhythm, calmness of crafting, that can help so many. For me, like Wink, that calm can be found in crochet.
I started crocheting in a period of extreme stress and self-doubt. I was working in a busy and difficult job, we had a beautiful, clever but demanding toddler and we were living off-grid in a yurt, which was amazing but hard work. I was battling post-natal depression and the specter of depression that had haunted my twenties was always lurking in the background. I had made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t take medication to manage my depression ever again; however it was clear to me and those around me that I needed a way to unwind. A friend showed me how to crochet a simple square and I was off!
Part of my work during this time was managing a natural burial site where we worked with the dying and bereaved to provide a simple, natural and ecologically sound resting place among the trees nestled in the rolling hills of Southern England. No headstones, no embalming, no plastic coffins, no “men in black”. Just flowers, bees, soil, worms, trees, words and humans. I came to deeply value that time with people and death become much less fearful for me. I found it a privilege to work with the dying and to help at this most important time in our lives.
And through all of that I crocheted. I crocheted through the pain of my youngest cousin’s suicide; he also could not conquer depression. He was a stunning, curly-headed, disarmingly beautiful child who somehow was never at ease in his skin as he grew older. He was twenty when he died. It was Christmas day.
All I can say in terms of a message is that continuing to talk about, share, and celebrate Wink’s life and work is crucial to continuing her message and in helping others to conquer depression and illness through crafting. She couldn’t work it through but others can and will. With the support friends, family and community projects, I have seen people come through extreme mental illness, self-harm, brain injury, physical trauma and debilitating bereavement by becoming involved in craft and working with their hands. And I would include the online crafting community in this support network. I think for many people it is a lifeline and creative outlet in a safe, supportive environment.”
This post is part of the Mandalas for Marinke project