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Title: Conversations about creativity and chronic illness II: Textile artists coping with long-term health problems reflect on the creative process
Authors: Reynolds, F
Issue Date: 2004
Publisher: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates
Citation: Creativity Research Journal. 16 (1) 79-89
Abstract: This qualitative study explored the origins of interest in textile arts among a group of women living with long-term health problems. The part that illness played in motivating engagement in creative arts was of particular concern. Twenty four women were interviewed, aged between 29-72 years. Most were hobbyists and but the sample included some publicly acclaimed textile artists. A minority had engaged in art continuously since their earlier years. Most of the women had discovered (or re-discovered) textile arts, in middle and later life. Several factors facilitated this. The narratives indicated that the women’s pre-existing resilient personality as well as extensive support structures may have encouraged a reflective attitude and a problem-solving approach to living with illness. The experience of biographical disruption, stemming from the crisis of illness, dissatisfaction with unproductive time and a growing need for self-fulfilment, appeared to create a search for a meaningful occupation. The discovery of textile art as a meaningful occupation (as opposed to other ways of living with illness) appeared to be encouraged by early role models, enjoyment of art at school, the discovery that adult personal and professional interests could be expressed through artwork, and chance events. Textile art at school appeared to provide a form of ‘cultural capital’ for these women, who returned to this art medium and the skills learned earlier, when crisis occurred. The findings indicate that a negative event such as illness may have life-enhancing effects. Rehabilitation specialists might focus more on the arts as a resource for adults living with illness.
Appears in Collections:Psychology
Dept of Clinical Sciences Research Papers

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