Hand hobbies: Glassblowing, woodworking, and ceramics

Oct 12, 2011, 12:53 p.m.

Just because you may have spent the majority of your life using your hands to make a living doesn’t mean that you can’t continue to use your hands to make beautiful artistic inventions. Besides, if what they say about idle hands being the devil’s tools is true, you may need something constructive to do to keep you out of trouble. Any of the following three hand hobbies are sure to accomplish that.


Glassblowing is possibly one of the few hand hobbies you’ll ever partake in that sometimes blurs the line between extreme sport and artistic expression. After all, glassblowing requires you to work with fire and hot, molten glass. If that’s not an extreme art, then we don’t know what is. But without a doubt, the benefits greatly outweigh the minor risks involved. With glassblowing, you can create some truly unique and pieces of functional art: vases, bowls, plates and bottles. The art of glassblowing, which dates all the way back to around 50 B.C., might look and sound a bit intimidating with all of that flame and heat, but you can find many beginners' classes to take you through the basics and ease you into the experience.


There’s quite a bit of “rough satisfaction” that goes with the territory of woodworking, especially if you’re the type who enjoys the cacophony of loud power tools. And the beauty of it is, there’s practically no limit to what you can create and accomplish once you’ve gotten yourself a foundation education in woodworking. Start out by making yourself your very own hand-made cutting board (since a day of woodworking is bound to build up a serious appetite) and work your way up to building that expensive redwood deck you’ve always dreamed of having. Even if you’ve never been accused of being the crafty type and you wouldn’t know a circular saw if sneaked up behind you and bit you, you can become proficient at woodworking with the right instruction. All you have to do is believe that you can do it, and you will.


One of the beauties about creating ceramic art is that your output is only limited to what your imagination can dream up. Whether you’re interested in testing your mettle at creating clay jars to rival the beauty of those found in ancient Egyptian tombs, wall art to impress your friends and family, or intricate figurines to help kick off your new career as an artist, learning the basics of ceramics is your first step. Look for classes in your local area so that you can get in-person, hands-on experience rather than opting for the multitude of online tutorials and starter kits that you’re likely to come across in your search.

Taking up a hand hobby isn’t only critical to maintaining an active mind, but it’s also a constructive way of keeping your hands physically active—all the better to ward off some of the aches and pains that come with the process of maturation. If you’ve always had a hankering to discover your artistic side and you’re interested in trying something new, taking a crack at any one of these creative hobbies could be just what you’re looking for.

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