• Brain on Knitting

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    New art-science initiative that I’ve helped get up and running here in Sydney. One of the BEST things to come out of writing this blog has been the unexpected opportunities that have come my way to spread the word about neuroscience and brain health in fun, creative ways. Whether you’re a whiz with yarn, or just discovering the joy of craft, now you can crochet wrap, knit or knot—and find out about neuroscience.

    Neurons are electrically excitable cells of the brain, spinal cord and peripheral nerves. The billions of neurons in your body connect to each other in neural networks (knitworks – get it!?). They receive signals from every sense, control movement, create memories, and form the neural basis of every thought.

    More than half of US households craft at least once a year, but for some it becomes a daily pastime. If you're an avid crafter – knitting, quilting, scrapbooking, etc. – you've probably lost yourself in a project on more than one occasion.

    This tendency to become so absorbed in your craft that you're able to forget about your worries, obligations, and even physical pains is called “flow” – and it's a key reason why crafting may be phenomenal for your mental and emotional health.

    Getting Creative Boosts Brain Health, Happiness

    Crafts such as knitting and crocheting are no longer viewed as a pastime for the elderly. In fact, they're popular among all age groups, from 18 year olds to those over 65.

    People in their 20s and 30s are actually taking up knitting in droves, and not because there's a shortage of baby blankets and hats. The number one reason why people are drawn …

    Inspiring Australia’s NSW Manager Jackie Randles worked with the artists to extend the concept beyond the gallery as a National Science Week community art project. Input also came from Jenny Whiting, Heather Main, Deirdre Molloy, Sarah McKay (that’s me!), Rod Dowling, Kuldip Sidhu and Carrie Kibbler.

    Huge thanks to the many scientific researchers who provided access to inspirational images used as the basis of patterns, and to all those who have offered support and assistance along the way to bring this big woolly project to life.

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