Exploring the meanings of making traditional arts and crafts among older women in Crete, using interpretative phenomenological analysis

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Aim: The aim of the study was to investigate the meanings of making traditional arts and crafts among older, retired women living in rural Crete, and the contribution of these occupations to wellbeing. Previous relevant research, conducted mainly in the United Kingdom and United States, had largely neglected the experiences of art-making in societies with strong cultural traditions of art-making.

Method: Semi-structured interviews were conducted in Greek to collect qualitative accounts from 12 women aged over 65 years. The data were interpreted according to published guidelines for interpretative phenomenological analysis.

Findings: The women identified various forms of art-making that were indigenous, such as weaving, lace-making and painting holy icons. They expressed deep respect for artistic traditions and took pride in preserving and teaching traditional skills and designs. They perceived art-making as promoting continuity of self, social status and spiritual wellbeing. Art-making was also used as a coping strategy for the challenges of later life, such as bereavement.

Conclusion: Older women in Crete valued their involvement in traditional forms of art-making. These occupations enhanced wellbeing in several ways. Participants gained status, and a culturally recognised role in the community, from preserving and transmitting the skills required for indigenous forms of art and craft work.


Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4276/030802211X13125646370852

Publication date: August 1, 2011

More about this publication?
  • The British Journal of Occupational Therapy (BJOT) is the official journal of the College of Occupational Therapists. Its purpose is to publish articles relevant to theory, practice, research, education and management in occupational therapy internationally.

    BJOT publishes research articles, critical reviews, practice analyses, opinion pieces, editorials, letters to the editor, book reviews and an annual index. Please refer to the author's guide at http://www.cot.co.uk/british-journal-bjot/british-journal-occupational-therapy

    Submissions can be made at http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/bjot

    The 2013 Impact Factor for The British Journal of Occupational Therapy is 0.897.

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