Exploring the practice of Meditation through Design and Craft
This body of work presents four outcomes that seek to facilitate a more open-minded approach to meditation for those who struggle with mental illness. These are: A meditation bench, cushions and blankets, 'painting breath meditation’, using hand turned bowls and paintbrushes, and a series of held objects.
I have conducted a visual and critical investigation of posture, breathing and the practice of meditation. My experience in group therapy sessions gave me the opportunity to observe others both inside and outside of a clinical setting and reflect on the needs whilst transitioning back in to everyday routines. This inspired an 8-week participant observation case study. I noticed a pattern develop whereby completing an unsupported, upright-seated meditation was undesirable and disillusioning for many aspiring practitioners.
Redefining the meditative pose, to align concentration with comfort, would help redress this issue. I have considered the effects natural materials and colour have on our wellbeing. And have devised a creative non-seated meditation in order to help combat the symptoms of anxiety and stimulate the process of body and mind.
Collectively through providing alternative platforms for meditation, I aim to challenge preconceptions of the sitting meditator, and instead establish a supportive and encouraging environment to help people feel the benefits of this practice.
The Bench invites you to sit in different ways and to interact with its elements dependent on what you need. There are options to sit at a low level with or without back support, to remove the backrest to lie down, or use the flat upper level for a seated position. A solid wooden surface keeps the body attentive and creates a warm grounding foundation for meditation.
MAT ERIAL SELECT ION AND MENTAL WELLBEING
The health and wellbeing benefits of spending time in nature are well known. This love of time in nature has been called Biophilia and explains our innate longing to connect with the natural world.
Looking at ways to incorporate Biophilic design has been an important part of my research. Using wood as the core material has positive physiological and psychological benefits that mimic the effects of spending time outside. Wood evokes the feelings of natural warmth and comfort and can also improve the air quality of a room by moderating humidity. This is key to a practice where breathing is so important. Research shows that the incorporation of Biophilic design can improve a persons emotional state, increase levels of self-expression, reducing blood pressure and stress levels.