All that Glitters is Goals: Cope with your Disability Through Crafting

By Hannah Cate, Coping Through Craft

WWhat started as a creative outlet for me quickly turned into a platform and passion helping others discover the therapeutic benefits of art coupled with a way of crafting that works for them and their disability.

Hi! I'm Hannah and I run an adaptive crafting/art Instagram page and YouTube Channel called Coping Through Craft. On my page I not only discuss fun techniques and give you insights into my creative style, but I also review accessible craft tools and create projects with my own hand drawn inclusive stamps.

Cope with your Disability Through Crafting

Pushing the Envelope with Accessible Stamping and Crafting

While I have always been a crafty person, this journey started in May 2020, when I was trying to deal with pain while all of my medical and recreational outlets were put on hold during the pandemic's stay-at-home order. As background, I live with a TBI as well as progressive muscle weakness. No longer being able to attend therapies, rock climbing or the pool, I looked for activities to fill my suddenly empty schedule and I "stumbled" upon card making (pun intended as I stumble a LOT).

My interest in a new craft quickly developed into a passion for not only for stamping and card making but broadened into a desire to make the craft world more accessible. While it may not seem readily apparent, I quickly realized there is a lack of accessibility and inclusion in this sector. I could not find any stamps with inclusive images showing people of all abilities and when I tried to find accessible tools to make crafting easier, I was disappointed in the slim results. Having been a TBI advocate since 10th grade (I give speeches for my state's Brain Injury Alliance), I decided to create what I wanted to see in the world and got to work so others would not have to go through the frustration (or money!) that I did.

What do I look for in an art tool to consider it "accessible?"

  • Ease of use.
  • Can be used with ease for people with many disabilities?
  • Does it cost extra energy or cause more pain?
  • Does it allow someone to save energy and craft longer?
  • Does it allow an adaptive crafter to do a technique they would not be able to perform without it?
  • Cost. Craft supplies are already expensive and in other areas of my life, I have found that if a product is marketed as "accessible" the price can be much higher.


Accessible Cards

When reviewing products, I always try to keep in mind that nothing will ever be 100% accessible to everyone, and try to address that in my reviews. Another focus is remembering that a disability is different to every person and there are many different types. I am not an expert on anyone's disability except my own. All these thoughts are front and center as I work to design stamps with the ultimate goal being an accessible craft line in the future.

When I began creating my own stamps that showed people with disability, I started with ones that I felt represented me and my experience. As I am branching out into other disabilities, I have and will continue to consult with others who do have that experience; I want to ensure my design is respectful and encompasses the general experience of that disability.

I would love to have you join me on my crafty adventures! You can find me on Instagram with the handle @coping.through.craft and on YouTube under Coping Through Craft. I will also present Art as Healing and Celebration at Abilities Expo Chicago at 2:45 pm on Sunday, June 27.

For now, if you are looking into purchasing adaptive art tools here are some of my favorites:

  • Spring Loaded Scissors by We R Memory Keepers
  • Gemini Die-Cutting and Embossing Machine by Crafter's Companion
  • Make Art Station by Ranger Ink
  • Ergonomic Blending Brushes from Pink and Main
  • Water Media Mat by Waffle Flower

Happy Crafting! Create Your Own Ending!

Hannah Cate, Coping with Craft Artist

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