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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Beacon Bits -- Handmade--It's a Good Thing!

If you like Pinterest and if you are a Martha Stewart fan, then you will just love Nixie Sparrow!! New to Beacon and located on the first floor in BEAHIVE, on the first floor of  291 Main Street in the beautifully restored 1907 telephone building, you will have a chance to soon experience the fun of personally creating items to get you in the holiday spirit during the Second Saturday festivities on December 13. Even if you don't know about the social media site and are not a handcrafts maven or Martha-wannabee, you will be introduced to something deep within yourself with the help of a Nixie Sparrow experience.

I 'found' Nixie Sparrow during a Sunday afternoon walk when old neighbors from Nyack were visiting and I was 'showing off' all of the wonderful venues since their last visit three years ago. When I walked in, it felt like the set of a carefully designed arts and crafts studio 
waiting to entice me into whatever was being offered for play and creativity. I spoke briefly with Sarah (Meghan wasn't present) about the focus of this "do-it-yourself" space with its 

scheduled workshops for adults that range from the arts, cooking, floristry and everything you can think of under the sun (e.g., pom pom rugs, stamped wrapping paper, home brewing, watercolor and homemade cards) or everything you may not even have imagined until you make it yourself.

The name "Nixie Sparrow" itself is a clue to what will happen during a visit to attend a workshop. Nixie is the name of a mythological water spirit. And a  sparrow represents creativity and community. The name itself gives the context for those invited artisans who will present their special interests and talents to a group of individuals gathered together for brief encounters of the creative kind. Sounds like a fun process of sharing time and space and it is practical as well, since the skills learned can be transferred into hobbies or future pursuits or gifts to give to self or others since there is always a product to take home with you. And with diverse offerings, you can always return to sample something new.

Food for thought:  The more high tech we become, the more we need to balance our activities so that we engage all areas of our brain. MRI research has shown that knitting, for example, integrates left and right hemispheres. Creative pursuits and making things by hand, not just knitting and crochet, are good for planning and sequencing as we imagine what our actions will produce before we see the results; this executive functioning and problem solving serves us well. The joy and pleasure of being in the moment in a meditative state as attention is sustained over time when something is learned, with just enough frustration to stimulate patience and the sense of success and self-efficacy, is just what the 'doctor' has ordered to decrease negative stress. The opportunities for 'hands-on' experiences are also important for sensory integration. Head, hearts and hands working together while engaged in the simple joys of life are irreplaceable. Let's welcome Nixie Sparrow to Beacon and support its place in growing community and in helping all of us in the pursuit of happiness and well-being; you'll never have to wait for another snow day at home to get into the creative state of mind!


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