Until 2002 Betsan Corkhill was a Senior Physiotherapist, working in the community. In this role, she was struck by the number of the patients who were so demotivated that they wouldn’t do the exercises she had taught them, or make the lifestyle changes that she advised. She felt that these patients needed to develop an interest in the world, and in their own health and wellbeing, before any medical intervention could have a significant effect.
In 2002 Betsan had a complete change of career and became a freelance production editor on a range of leisure-based magazines. In this role she became aware of the large number of people who were using stitching and knitting to successfully self-manage a variety of medical conditions, in particular stress, depression and long-term pain. She found that a large number of people from different countries, backgrounds and age groups were making strikingly similar claims about the therapeutic benefits of knitting and stitching.
She began to think of ways that could get the message across to others who might benefit – and the idea for Stitchlinks was born in 2005. Betsan wanted to create a central hub for information on craft and health that could be trusted to give accurate information.
Stitchlinks has three major components
• The first – and fundamental to everything they do – is their support network for those who enjoy the therapeutic benefits of crafts, plus forums and information articles.
• The second is their research arm. They are pioneering research into the benefits of crafts, in particular knitting, and through this work, developing therapeutic approaches that could change the way we, as a society, view and prioritise wellbeing and treat long-term medical conditions.
• The third provides information to clinicians, teachers, the craft trade and others who wish to use therapeutic knitting and run therapeutic knitting groups.
The Stitchlinks website, http://www.stitchlinks.com/ is a rich repository of information relating to craft and well being.
You can hear more about the work of Stitchlinks in a talk by Betsan Corkhill at the Knit & Stitch Club at Heart Space Studios in Redland, Bristol, on Thursday March 14th (7.30pm). Places for this event are very limited and booking is essential. Please phone Heart Space Studios on (0117) 923 2391 or email jan@heartspacestudios to find out more.