Meet the Maker: Mindfulness Coach Sandra Owen
Sandra Owen is a Creative Teacher, Grief Recovery Method Specialist, and Woodwind Tutor. She runs creative courses and workshops with a self-development focus, using recycling craft as a teaching medium. She describes recycling craft as a process of literally transform rubbish into beautiful craft projects, which in turn act as a metaphor for the transformation within yourself!
How did you first become interested in using creativity as a tool for mindfulness?
As a child I loved making things out of scraps of card and materials, colouring, sewing and knitting. It was my way of processing emotions and finding tranquillity and peace within. My father died when I was a young girl and with no help to express my feelings and emotions, I found huge comfort in creative art and music.
Looking back, I can see how these early experiences were the foundation stones of what I do in my work today, helping others move forward from emotional trauma, lack of confidence or lack of self-belief. I believe taking time regularly to be still and absorb the mind and body in creative art allows space to listen to your heart, process emotions and find solutions to things you’re struggling with.
I absolutely love learning about how our mind and brain works, and the importance of maintaining positive mental and emotional health. To me, imagination is a tool to enable us to think, feel, dream and create our lives.
What do your personal creative practices involve?
I love finding the beauty in everyday items that would otherwise end up in landfill. I am always thinking about ways to illustrate topics I want to teach, and love experimenting with different mediums. I love the crossover between crafts, and learning different techniques to transform trash into treasure!
I am a very visual, hands-on teacher and learner, and am always reading, studying and learning from books, TED Talks and craft videos on Youtube. One of my favourite past times is going to craft fairs because I greatly admire and learn from the amazing skills of other creatives.
Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration literally everywhere, and see patterns in the strangest places. I see animal shapes in rugged flag stones, patterns in soap bubbles and ideas in raindrops, empty cereal boxes and spilled tea! I love colours, scrap materials, ribbons, buttons, bits of old plastic. I am always thinking about how to create projects from things that capture my imagination.
In your opinion, how does creativity benefit the mind?
Creativity is hugely beneficial for so many reasons. It naturally focuses your brain, and gives your hands something to do to enable your mind and body to relax, creating a meditative calm within. Your mind refocuses, giving you respite from any anxiety and stresses that you may be facing. Creativity naturally releases ‘feel good’ hormones such as Oxytocin, Dopamine and Serotonin. It opens your mind to new possibilities and potential. Creativity is about playing, experimenting and exploring.
I believe our most precious tool as human beings is our imagination. Creating can be even more enjoyable when shared collaboratively.
Tell us about what your courses involve, and the ways in which they have helped others:
My courses and workshops offer space and time to switch off from your daily routine, and explore your own thoughts and feelings through creative art. The recycling projects open your mind to see potential in everything, including yourself and the world around you.
All the projects are carefully designed to act as visual triggers so you remember the topics discussed. They are fun, effective and easy to make. My aim is to help boost self-confidence, self-belief and give food for thought in a safe, inspiring, uplifting environment.
All clients have reported a huge boost in self-confidence and self-esteem, and are grateful for the time to reconnect with themselves. They loved creating projects they could also give as gifts, and it gave them the time they needed to rethink and change their life for the better.
Tell us about a piece of work that you are particularly proud of:
It’s actually hard to single out one project because I love them all. One of my most recent projects which has been extremely popular is my ‘Inchies and Twinchies’ Love Board that involved creating little multimedia squares for all the things you love doing starting from early childhood to now. Each square became a little work of art in its own right and witnessing the love and thought that clients put into their project was truly wonderful.
What are 3 tips that you would share with those looking to become more mindful?
- Reconnect with your Inner Child. Think about what you absolutely loved doing as a child, and make time for those things in your life again.
- Colouring. The focused, repetitive action of colouring Mandalas and Geometric Shapes is proven to create a natural state of meditation.
- Listen to sounds and smell the aromas of nature, close your eyes and breathe slowly. Become aware.
What’s next for you in 2018?
2018 is proving to be an exciting year. I produced a 12-Month Creative Planner for All Ages which is selling like hot cakes on Amazon! I am focusing on creating a series of books and ebooks based on my course material. My focus this year is to helping others to reignite and reconnect with their innate, creative imagination.
Sandra’s planner, ‘My Creative Life: A 12-Month Creative Planner for All Ages’ is available for purchase on Amazon.