Crafting Calm: Projects and Practices for Creativity and Contemplation

Crafting Calm: Projects and Practices for Creativity and Contemplation

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In this wired, wild world, it is harder than ever to shut out noise and busyness in order to truly calm yourself, but in Crafting Calm, a D.I.Y. guide to peace of mind, you'll find inspiring ideas for how to do exactly that through a wide range of creative exercises. In this book, author Maggie Oman Shannon explores crafts and creativity as a practice with enormous physical, mental, and spiritual benefits. By immersing ourselves in a craft with intention and mindfulness, we can quiet those voices around us and in us--we can enter sacred stillness. Through revealing interviews, personal stories, and forty suggested activities, the author shows how creative processes can become spiritual practices. Whether you're an aspiring artist, longtime craftsperson, or someone who has never set foot in a craft-store (yet!), you'll find something in Crafting Calm to inspire you.

Crafts and how-to ideas include contemplation candles, visual journals, prayer shawls, collage mandalas, intention beads, finger labyrinths, personal prayer flags, spiritual toolkits, and tabletop altars.

Features inspired craft ideas from luminaries such as Angeles Arrien, Mary Ann Radmcher, Shiloh Sophia McCloud, Sister Marianne Heib, May Ann Brussat, and many more.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781936740406
Publisher: Start Publishing, LLC
Publication date: 04/16/2013
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 7.20(w) x 7.20(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Maggie Oman Shannon is a spiritual director and writer. She is the author of One God, Shared Hope and The Way We Pray, editor of Prayers for Healing and coauthor of A String and a Prayer. She lives in San Francisco.

Mary Anne Radmacher is a writer and an artist. She conducts workshops on living a full, creative, balanced life, teaches Internet writing seminars, and works with individual clients. She has been writing since she was a child, and she uses her writing to explore symbols and find meaning. Among her special honors she counts the respect of her peers and the friendship of children. She is the author of Lean Forward into Your Life (Conari Press, 2007), and Live Boldly (Conari Press, 2008). She lives with her husband near Seattle, Washington. Visit her online at or

Read an Excerpt

Crafting Calm

Projects and Practices for Creativity and Comtemplation
By Maggie Oman Shannon

Viva Editions

Copyright © 2013 Maggie Oman Shannon
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9781936740406

Crafting for Calm

“I feel that art has something to do with the achievement of stillness in the midst of chaos. A stillness which characterizes prayer, too, and the eye of the storm. I think that art has something to do with the arrest of attention in the midst of distraction.”
–Saul Bellow

In this wired, wild world, it is harder than ever to truly calm oneself—everywhere we go, we are assaulted by noise, stimulation, the never-ending crawl at the bottom of our screens. As a recent Washington Post article explored, we are so caught up in our busy little worlds that sources of true beauty have trouble penetrating our rushed routines; how else to explain the fact that during a disheartening social experiment, in which world-class violinist Joshua Bell played unannounced and anonymously in a D.C. Metro station, hardly anyone (except children) bothered to stop and listen—and the collection for the renowned musician playing an hour-and-a-half in the subway was a mere $32?

The 20th-century Catholic priest and writer Henri Nouwen once wrote that “Through the spiritual life we gradually move from the house of fear to the house of love”—and the same thing could be said about the creative life. By immersing ourself in our creative activity, we can still those voices around us and in us—we can enter the stillness which characterizes prayer and the “house of love.” We can open ourselves and experience spaciousness.

Many if not all of us will find ourselves naturally calming or “gentling” down when we carve out the space to simply be with our Creator and our crafting materials. We will find, as the artist Corita Kent wrote, that “there is an energy in the creative process that belongs in the league of those energies which can uplift, unify and harmonize all of us.”

Some crafts themselves are inherently calming; both the process and the product serve as vehicles for calm and even prayer. As Susan Gordon Lydon reminds us in The Knitting Sutra, “Handcrafts throughout history have often been fashioned with the aid of prayer, one prayer for each bead or each stitch, while keeping good thoughts to enhance the spiritual purpose of the object.”

The practices in this section offer a spectrum of sensory appeal; from the smells and touch of anointing oils, to the sounds and sight of a tabletop meditation fountain, you will find activities here to truly help you to be still, and know that God is God.


Excerpted from Crafting Calm by Maggie Oman Shannon Copyright © 2013 by Maggie Oman Shannon. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


Crafting for Calm
Anointing Oils
Biblical Herb Garden
Spiritual Wisdom Wall Hanging
Sacred Bath Salts
Tabletop Meditation Fountain

Crafting for Clarity
Collage Treasure Map
Visual Journal
Personal Prayer Flag
Blessing Basket
Spiritual Toolbox

Crafting for Comfort
Portable Shrine
Prayer Shawl
Affirmation Blanket
Prayer Cards
Power Pouch

Crafting for Contemplation
Prayer Mat
Tray Sand Garden
Rock Cairn
Meditation Cushion

Crafting for Creation
Prayer Painting
Intention Beads
Inner Wisdom Doll
Messages in a Bottle

Crafting for Community
Talking Stick
Prayer Ribbon Weaving
Collage Mandala
Group Prayer Beads
Prayer Arrows

Crafting for Connection with Others
Thinking-of-You Candle
Prayer Pillow
Milagros Box
Homemade Bread Meditation
Prayer Rock

Crafting for Connection with Spirit
Prayer Outfit
Finger Labyrinth
Personal Holy Book
Tabletop Altar
Prayer Pot

Resource Section
Interview Subjects
About the Author
Index [TK]

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"The genius of this book is that it provides a practical and inspirational way of accessing two universal essential forces that sustain the human spirit: contemplation and creativity. A timeless and invaluable resource for anyone!"
— Angeles Arrien, author of The Second Half of Life: Opening the Eight Gates to Wisdom

"One of the central challenges of any spiritual path is the need to weave the moments of insight that come from inner practice into the fabric of everyday life. Maggie Oman Shannon's new book
Crafting Calm draws on time-honored handicraft traditions to do exactly this, providing a rich toolkit of approaches for the modern spiritual seeker."
— John Michael Greer, Grand Archdruid of the Ancient Order of Druids in America and author of
Apocalypse Not: Everything You Know About 2012, Nostradamus, and the Rapture is Wrong

"During these tumultuous times it is more important than ever to cultivate our calm. Maggie Oman's Crafting Calm is a balm of a book that teaches us this subtlest of lessons."
— Phil Cousineau, author of Wordcatcher and The Painted Word

"I still have pictures in my head of my Mom sitting and knitting in the pre-television days of my youth. It was a peacefulness scene seeing her take a meditative moment out of her household responsibilities. Today, in our non-stop world of ever-present text messages and emails, it is nice to have a book like this to help us both quiet our mind and enrich our life, as the simple art of knitting did for my Mom. So, put down your cell phone, pick up this wonderful book, and begin creating your own comforting handiwork from Crafting Calm."
-Allen Klein, author of The Art of Living Joyfully and Words of Love

Customer Reviews

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Crafting Calm: Projects and Practices for Creativity and Contemplation 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you are looking for ideas to express your spirituality, then this is the book for you. There are no pictures, a few subject pencil drawings and lots of information about different ways to express spirituality in it's various forms. Links are given to websites for ideas, purchasing items for ideas suggested and so far as I've read, only one link to a site to actually make anything. I was not looking for a long read on spirituality, but in that aspect, there was some wonderful writing. In this case, I just felt the description of book did not state clearly it's intended purpose is not the actual creation and instructions thereto of any crafts.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One thing I found especially helpful in Crafting Calm were the journal ideas and the inserts of quotes and phrases. Maggie Oman Shannon does such a wonderful job of bringing peace to simple tasks. Gardening, painting and cooking sounded like chores (to me), but Shannon turns them into calming spiritual activities. Even for those who aren’t that spiritual.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have recently become reacquainted with DIY projects and crafting in general. I'd like to begin (so that I can get it out of the way and not put all of my focus on this aspect) that the book was written by a Reverend and contains multiple projects and quotes that relate to religion (though it is NOT a prime focus). I am not religious at all and was only slightly put off by this, but really, let's get down to the main point: This book is FULL of creative projects that yield GREAT results (when I did them correctly....) From bath salts to meditation fountains, visual journals to  intention jewelry, and thinking-of-you candles to prayer shawls (though I just prefer to call them "shawls"), Rev. Maggie Oman Shannon has put together a helpful guide with useful suggestions for crafting to achieve calmness.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A must have for all crafters! As we all know, the art of crafting isn't only about the things we make, but it's about the journey we take in making them. This guide focus on that while still introducing a whole bunch of fun new crafts to do! Really great!
BooksterER More than 1 year ago
This book is great! It has so many crafts and Maggie really understands what it means to relax and become calm through crafting! She takes crafting from another thing to do to being a form of meditation and a way to deal with the chaos of the world. The great how tos and stories about her own life make this book a treasure and a great way to take away the crazy of your life!