This is a guest post by Rachel Farmer, founder of Made By Rachel.
I’m Rachel and I am the designer and creator at Made By Rachel. I design and handcraft a collection of beautiful polymer clay and sterling silver jewellery, and bespoke gifts from my riverside studio in Hampshire. My jewellery collection is modern, stylish, and one of a kind. With everything handmade, from colour mixing the clay, moulding and shaping the beads, earrings and pendants, and adding individual details, you can never create the same bead twice, so every customer gets something truly unique!
My craft is a passion, and has been a means of release to me over the years. Crafting has had a huge benefit to both my mental and physical health, giving me inspiration, motivation and a sense of achievement.
Creating has always had a place in my life, as it has for many of us, but it was only when my mental health declined that I realised how important creativity was to my wellbeing. That realisation motivated me to actively include time to be creative in my day. Even if it was just half an hour of crochet, watercolour or mixing up some clay; having that bit of time set aside to do something creative would leave me feeling more relaxed, positive and refreshed.
It doesn’t always have to be for the end result either, I think it’s the process of making that’s important, allowing your mind a chance to roam free. For me, it allowed an escape from a cycle of panic and anxiety that had become all consuming, and allowed a grounding to the present, rather than worrying about the future or reliving moments from the past.
I discovered the art of polymer clay when I was hospitalised long-term due to severe health conditions. Craft was a form of therapy, and when a box of clay was placed by my side to ‘work’ with, I had no idea where it would take me. I found a huge sense of relaxation in polymer clay craft; it has an almost meditative quality. Kneading and conditioning of the clay, repetitive rolling of beads; simply playing with clay stimulates pressure points in our hands, which has huge therapeutic benefits, and this is true for many other forms of art and craft as well.
During my time in hospital, as I recovered, the enjoyment I found in craft increased, and by the time I left I had already gained a small skillset in working with clay. Over months to come, my interest, skill and passion in both polymer clay craft and other creative pursuits blossomed, and I was creating more and more.
Made By Rachel was born in 2017. Having made artwork and pieces of jewellery for friends and family, interest in my craft was growing, and I had become more skilled and confident in what I was doing, and so I decided to launch my business. I attended a couple of local fairs, church and school fetes, put my business on social media and put my heart and soul into making.
Since starting my business, I now have a workshop and retail space in a local community, where in addition to selling my creations, I also run regular workshop in a variety of crafts. Knowing how much of a benefit crafting can be, it is a joy to have a space where I can bring people together to create. My workshops offer a friendly space to relax with a craft, be equipped with a new skill and leave with a completed handmade project, and hopefully a sense of inspiration, achievement and pride in what they have accomplished.
For me, having a creative project on the go helps to give me focus and purpose. It can be easy to feel overwhelmed by all of the tasks you have to complete at any given point in time, and so when feeling bogged down by ‘life’ I try and stop, and take some time out to work on one of my crafting projects - there are always plenty to choose from!!
Rachel Farmer is the founder of Made By Rachel, specialising in handmade jewellery and crafts from her studio in Hampshire. She also runs workshops to share her skills and the wellbeing benefits of making with others.
She also writes her own blog - we love her 5 minute crafts!