“Sawinery”: woodworking as PTSD/C-PTSD art therapy.


Credit: Sawinery.net

Once in a while my readers reach out to me with questions, their own stories about abuse, or projects they are working on.  I can’t respond to all of these, but I do appreciate when my readers want to share things with me.    Occasionally, something stands out so much to me or is so innovative that I feel like it might be of help to other readers, so I asked the person who sent me the email about this if I could share it on my blog.

Sawinery is a blog about the woodworking world.

Woodworking? Why would I want to include an article about that?  It’s not a topic I’ve ever written about and isn’t the kind of thing I do write about.   But this is different, because the blog’s owner told me they have started to explore the power of woodworking as therapeutic healing art for trauma related conditions of PTSD and C-PTSD.    In the owner’s own words:

We recently interviewed 3 people: two men and one woman, who suffer from CPTSD/PTSD, one because of abuse in his childhood and one after retiring from the army — who are all doing woodworking as therapy.

They describe how it improved their creativy, that it helps to cope with confusion and anger as a result of trauma, that their confidence has improved and that they can now communicate more easily with other people.

You can read the full interview here:

If you suffer from a trauma related disorder like PTSD or Complex PTSD, or know someone who does, you may want to take a look at the above link and share it.

Art therapy: recycling an old seat cushion.

This morning I had two small first-world problems.

1. I needed a new piece of art for my hallway wall, which was bare.
2.  My favorite outdoor needlepoint seat cushion had turned black and moldy from three weeks’ of rain, and the stuffing was coming out of it anyway.

I’m glad I didn’t throw away the seat cushion, which was my first temptation. I didn’t think it could be salvaged.   But I decided to take it apart and see if I had some kind of  brainstorm that would save it because the design is so pretty.

I tore out the stuffing, and the needlepoint part of the cushion, which was on the top only, tore away easily as the fabric was nearly rotted. Carefully, I washed the needlepoint panel in the tub with mild detergent and just a little bleach to make the colors bright again, then dried it indoors.

Now I had a nice little piece of needlepoint tapestry, with a very antique look about it (even though it’s actually only about ten years old), but what could I do with it?

Finally I decided it would make a wonderful art piece for my blank wall, solving my first problem.  I measured the piece–it was 17.5 x 15 inches, wider than it is tall. I had to find some kind of frame that would fit.  I went to the dollar store and purchased a large piece of royal blue poster board for mounting.

I looked at their frames. All were way too small, intended for family photos, not artworks. But next to the photo frames were some cheap decorative photos and pictures already in frames. I finally found a framed photo of a shoreline whose dimensions fit almost exactly. The frame was plain black plastic, which was fine.  The hook on the back was in the right place too, so it would hang with the longer side horizontal and the shorter side vertical.

I took my equipment home, removed the backing and the cardboard photo inside (actually the photo is rather nice, so I might put that somewhere else like my bathroom or kitchen), and then carefully cut the poster board to the same dimensions as the cardboard photo. Then I glued the tapestry onto the poster board and set it back inside the frame, and used some masking tape to secure it there.

Here is a picture of the finished result.  I think you’d probably pay a lot if you were to buy something like this.


A closer look at the detail:

tapestry2 tapestry3

I find these sort of creative activities relaxing and fun–and very therapeutic.  My house is filed with such things I made myself out of odds and ends, or things that I was able to recycle into something exciting and new.    And I always finish these projects with my mood improved too.