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  • Writer's pictureGina Vallance

My Childhood Discovery of Art Therapy and the Inspiration of Safflower the Butterfly

Whimsical Crafters Art Shop is inspired by Safflower, the butterfly from my novel Amberly and the Secret of the Fairy Warriors. Safflower loves arts and crafts, and she especially loves to weave! My own love of the therapeutic benefits of arts and crafts is what inspired me to incorporate Safflower’s creative hobby into the novel.

Given the popularity of art therapy, It has been proven that art and craft activities are therapeutic for kids and adults. Crafting is an excellent stress reliever, and the act of creating a piece of art can also be a great confidence booster. When we focus on an art or craft activity, our minds automatically become focused and calm. The more we create, the more we move into a peaceful, meditative state no matter what age we are.

Since childhood, the creative arts have been my saving grace. Creative writing and crafting are what helped me cope with my experience growing up with Meniere's Disease, an inner ear disorder that causes severe dizziness, nausea, loss of balance, and hearing loss. This cyclical syndrome, I like to call it, usually inflicts those over 50 years of age. However, on rare occasions, children can suffer from it. Unfortunately, I was afflicted with Meniere's at age two, and it did not ease up until I turned twenty-nine when my doctor found a treatment that thankfully stopped the dizziness. Although I suffer with tinnitus and permanent hearing loss which caused my need for hearing aids, I am so grateful that I have not experienced another horrific dizzy spell!

Growing up with Meniere's meant being confined to my bed for seven days a month with the sensation of the room spinning, while severe nausea made it impossible to keep any food down. On top of that, the tremendous amount of anxiety I experienced after missing seven or eight days of school consecutively every month interfered with my own learning which caused me to be an extremely shy kid.

Luckily, by age 9, I discovered my love for creative writing, journaling, and crafting, which brought about a sense of joy and peace during the days I was not dizzy. The act of creating, whether it was with words, paint, or crayons, made my anxious thoughts and feelings melt away. I continued to suffer from Meniere's all throughout college, however, writing, art, and music are what helped me cope and still do to this day.

Everyone who knows me not only knows I love to write, but that I also love working on craft projects. Creativity is what keeps me balanced and happy, which is why I love sharing the benefits of craft and writing activities with children, teachers, and parents.

I honestly believe that art, books, creative writing and music help heal our spirits and make us stronger, especially those who suffer from trauma or disabilities. By writing strong, female, fantasy characters and promoting art and writing therapy activities, I hope that I can inspire as many young girls as possible to empower themselves and build their self confidence through the act of creative expression.

For arts, crafts, and expressive writing activities for the tweens and teens in your life, visit Safflower's Whimsical Crafter's Art Shop here!

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