Allow me to introduce Mary Breen! Mary operates a beautiful shop in our neighbourhood filled with one of a kind hand made gifts. She is constantly finding ways to get involved, to give to people in need and to support the arts. She is one of my personal heroes. Here is her story:
I’ve had depression for 31 one years. At least that’s how long I’ve been receiving treatment; it might have started earlier. No surprise there. A great many of my family members have depression or other forms of mental illness. So I know I could have it a lot worse, say if my DNA code had called for schizophrenia or bi-polar disorder. Mental illness just runs in my family. I have long since come to terms with it. In fact the only time I remember being aware of the “stigma” was when my father was in and out of hospital, and everyone around me was weird about it. As far as I’m concerned, this treatable disease is no different, and in a lot of ways preferable, to any number of physical ailments that might negatively impact my quality of life. And, as an aside, you wouldn’t balk at insulin for diabetes, so why say no to drugs for this disease?
My life is definitely one of quality, and a big part of the reason is craft (also art, dance, theatre, literature...). It’s imperative that I have a creative outlet, and it’s always been that way. Along with the depression, I inherited a very dominant crafty gene! My mother and all my foremothers, especially the spinster aunts, always had projects on the go. No woman in my family ever sat down without something in her lap to work on (that’s the hereditary work ethic poking its nose in where it doesn’t necessarily belong). The talent of these women inspires me everyday. I use their embroidered linens and meticulously hand-painted china, and enjoy the memory of all the crazy stuff my mum and I made when I was young.
They say knitting lowers your blood pressure. I’m sure that’s true for me (until I drop a stitch), and the same applies to painting, drawing, needlepointing, felting, soap-making and most any other artistic activity I pursue. Though making can be exhilarating too. And best of all, it gets you out of your head. The chatter stops, the self-censoring stops, and the joy flows. It does a body – and mind – good. Between the drugs, the crafts, a loving partner and amazing (also crafty) daughters, I’ve got everything I need for good health.
Owner, Wise Daughters Craft Market
P.S. Here’s a photo of the smocked dress one of my relatives made for my mother, who was born in 1925. It hangs in the shop.