Meet the Author
Hey there, can you introduce yourself?
I'm Betsan Corkhill and I'm a Wellbeing Coach based in Bath, UK. My background is in physiotherapy.
I began researching the meditative, creative and social benefits of knitting in 2005. My first book 'Knit for Health and Wellness. How to knit a flexible mind and more' pulls together all my work so far.
Over the last 10 years I have developed Therapeutic Knitting as a tool to improve wellbeing. Therapeutic Knitting is the combination of knowledge and knitting. Knowledge about how to enhance the therapeutic benefits of knitting plus knowledge of wellbeing or any health condition to enable you to use Therapeutic Knitting as a tool to improve wellbeing.
Therapeutic Knitting can help anyone to deliberately improve their wellbeing or taken a step further to manage the symptoms of medical conditions.
In the process of this work I have also looked at crochet.
Tell us a bit about the book?
Crochet Therapy combines a variety of 10 mindful, meditative, relaxing, motivating, energising and visualisation exercises with crochet projects that have been designed to specifically complement the exercises. Each of the 10 exercises has two crochet projects.
These range from calming and energising mandalas to a shawl which is reminiscent of waves and flower hair grips to give to friends. Each project has a purpose which is designed to enhance wellbeing. After their creation the projects can also be used as a reminder of the therapeutic state of mind achieved during its creation too.
What was the inspiration behind it?
Having written 'Knit for Health and Wellness' as a background book that pulls all my work together I was keen to write a book that linked my findings to actual projects.
I was already planning such a book when the publishers contacted me about writing Crochet Therapy, so I said yes!
Which is your favourite project?
My favourite project is Blue Sky Blanket. It features a blue background with crocheted appliquéd clouds.
This blanket pairs with an exercise that encourages you to daydream - to allow your dreams to develop, to inspire you.
Day dreaming is good for your wellbeing in that it gives your mind a mini break away from life's everyday stresses, strains and busyness. Modern life results in most of us being overly busy with the consequent detrimental effect on our health. Taking time out to 'stop' on a regular basis is highly beneficial. Knitting and crochet gives us the perfect tool for enabling this state of mind.
What is your craft space like?
I use a my daughter's old bedroom which is South facing and wonderfully sunny.
The space itself varies from being overly full with a creative disorganisation to being quite tidy with everything in its place! I always have piles of books waiting to be read, alongside interesting magazine articles.
My favourite bit of furniture is my rocking chair which has a pillow made from material that has seaside words written on it. I bought this when on holiday in my home town of Cardigan in West Wales. Draped across the back of the chair is a throw that resembles knitted waves. It's a good place to sit and mull over ideas and the world in general.
Have you always been creative?
Yes and I was always torn between the Arts and Science. Science won out when I was in school and that lead me down the route of becoming a physiotherapist.
I've always enjoyed making things in my spare time.
When did you first start crafting?
I was always making things right from as far as I can remember. I was quite adept at making mud pies and 'perfume' from garden flowers at a very young age. My mother was a painter in her spare time so introduced me to painting and drawing at a young age too.
She taught me to knit when I was 7 - a process which was unnecessarily complicated by the fact that I am left handed. I say unnecessarily because my mother thought it would be difficult but actually I knit like everyone else so being left handed didn't make any difference to me. I can remember being really impatient - I wanted to knit a jumper immediately and was rather upset when mum advised I should start with a scarf! It turned out to be a rather long Dr Who type scarf that seemed to get longer and longer as I wore it!
Who are your crafty heroes?
I hope it's not too awful to say I don't really have any. I tend to just go with things I like in the moment rather than follow a particular person.
Where do you find inspiration?
In terms of craft inspiration I love websites like Attic 24 because of the colour combinations used in the featured projects. They can be applied to lots of different projects. If I'm looking for a particular pattern, like many people I browse Ravelry. I also get a lot of inspiration from the people who attend the two knitting groups I run.
In terms of my work and the science side of my life, I love New Scientist. Their weekly magazine is always full of remarkable facts that often make me gasp in amazement at the complexity of us as humans and the world we live in. It makes me want to make the most out of life.
What's next for you?
I'm working on a knitting-based book and planning another self-published book on wellbeing. I have a number of talks planned and 'Knitting for wellbeing' workshops. I'll be travelling to New York and Washington on October 12th to give some talks and run a workshop on knitting to improve wellbeing which I'm looking forward to.
I've also just been funded to run a 10 week 'Wellbeing for People in Pain' programme here in Bath which is a new exciting venture. I have specialised in helping people with long-term pain over the last 10 years. So it's going to be a very busy few months!