A #craftastherapy story: Jane Balke Andersen

Yarnbombers UnitedWhen I contacted Jane to ask her to be my first #craftastherapy story, I really didn’t know that much about her, but I knew she battled a chronic illness and used crochet as therapy. After she sent through her story, I sat down to find some images to accompany her words. The images were easy to find, but I found myself distracted and lost (in a good way) wandering through her social media world. I began to see there was a lot more to Jane than I initally thought.

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Yarn bombing by Yarnbombers United – Redfern Railway Station

While her story about her battle with Fibromyalgia is a moving one, her zest for life and generous nature is what struck me as her most defining characteristic. While many people of perfect health live in a constant state of negativity, it is beyond inspiring to see someone like Jane, living with chronic illness and being grateful for every moment.

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Jane yarn bombing bike racks in Redfern

You can find Jane in many places online, so please take the time to look her up. You’ll be glad that you did. She’s a member of Yarnbombers United, a small group of creative friends who have completed various yarn bombing projects. You can find her Facebook page here and don’t forget to hunt her down on Instagram! Here is Jane’s story – in her own words.

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The Hope Mandala by @maritparit – project to raise awareness of Fibromyalgia

Getting a chronic illness was like waking up on a new planet. Gravity suddenly worked differently and my balance was thrown off. I learnt to adapt to completely unknown situations, daily challenges and the unpredictable. Added to this I had to survive constant pain, exhaustion, isolation, disbelief, insults, experimentation by well meaning doctors and not knowing what my own body was going to do on an hourly basis.yarn bomber

I needed a coping mechanism, a wall of defence and so turned to creative ideas. I painted, sewed, decoupaged, grew herbs in creative patterns, made soft toys, tried aromatherapy, candle making, quilting, card making, stamping, stencilling, baking, cake decorating, scrapbooking, beading, jewellery making, photography, digital art, crochet, yarn bombing and now machine knitting too!

Redfern oval - yarn bombing

Yarn bombing by Yarnbombers United – Redfern Oval

After more than 2 decades of chronic illness, crochet keeps me going. It is both a creative outlet and a meditation. Craft is my therapy. It saves my sanity and allows me to cope with life, illness and depression. It has also allowed me to meet like minded people in craft groups and in social media. It is a way of connecting with others and expressing your artistic side. I encourage everyone to find a hobby they love. It doesn’t matter if you are good at it or not, as long as you enjoy it. Get creative!

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Rainbow Tree and Land Tree at the National Centre for Indigenous Excellence (NCIE)

You can find Jane Balke Andersen on –

Thank you so much Jane for taking the time to share your story! xo

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