Recent years have seen an explosion in popularity for ‘retro’ crafts and hobbies such as knitting, crocheting, felting and embroidery. Helped along by celebrities such as Kirstie Allsop and aided by social media websites such as Pinterest, this resurgence has led to craft courses and groups springing up, whilst craft kits are available in most retail outlets and it is fast becoming big business. Add to this the increase in popularity for book clubs and it seems people are looking for ways to relax.
For many people, the calm, hands-on, relaxing experience of developing and honing a new hobby, skill or craft is the perfect antidote to fast-paced, technology-crazed modern life and a welcome excuse to sit down, set aside the smartphone or tablet and chill out for a few hours. Having the right seating to do this is vital. All the benefits of taking up a new hobby will be lost if the hobbyist is sitting in an uncomfortable or unsupportive seat that leaves them with back and neck strain, tired eyes and headaches.
The Importance of Comfort
One solution for those seeking the perfect chair hobbies that don’t need a table is a beanbag. Beanbags offer versatile and flexible seating for the user. With a wide choice of shapes it is possible to find something to suit each person’s height so that it is ergonomically proportioned to their individual needs. It is also possible to cater to particular uses with some offering sturdier bases that allow the bottom to be raised higher, the pelvis tilted forward and keeping the leg and hip joints, knees and ankles at right angles. Others offer a more relaxed, reclined position, allowing the user to lounge comfortably for long periods of time. Others have a higher back than the classic round bean bag, such as a teardrop-shaped bag or gaming chair, offering more support for the neck and head.
Some bean bags even allow for multiple positions for ultimate flexibility. The Bazaar Bag is a versatile 4-in-1 beanbag, which can be used as a floor cushion, upright to make a higher stool-type seat, lengthways like a canoe or as a traditional bean bag. The Bazaar Bag Flex is the same shape, but goes one step further with innovative, removable straps that pull the beanbag into a sofa or chair shape depending on whether it is flexed horizontally or vertically. This forces the bean filling into a more compact shape, offering a sturdier seat when required.
For anyone looking to start a club to meet like-minded individuals who enjoy the same hobby, bean bag pods are cheaper and stack away easily in a cupboard or out of the way under the stairs when not needed. They are easily brought out for club meetings and are comfortable to sit on for occasional use.
Indoor-outdoor bean bags are suitable for outdoor use thanks to their durable polyester covers that are also water-resistant and easy to wipe clean. They make a great excuse to practice a hobby outdoors to make use of natural light, get a breath of fresh air and soak up some sunshine too.
To prevent back strain it is important to keep the spine in contact with the back of a seat at all times. On conventional chairs it is easy to end up hunched over a hobby at the shoulders, leading to a stiff neck and headaches. Or alternatively slump in a chair whilst reading, leaving only the bottom and top of the spine in contact with the chair and suspending the rest of the spine in mid-air, leading to terrible muscle strain.
The virgin-grade, polystyrene bead filling in a good quality bean bag contours to the body, enveloping the core in a supportive structure and retaining that all-important contact. When sitting for long periods, concentrating on the task in hand, this allows the body to relax fully, allowing for maximum relaxation and even more benefit is gained from the hobby.
Children & Hobbies
Children in particular benefit from sitting in one of the many bean bags specifically designed for children because of the superior support they offer to developing bodies. There are miniature versions of adult bean bags available in just about any shape, size or design possible. Encouraging children to take up a new hobby too is a great idea. It is well known that many children spend far too long staring at screens; be it televisions, laptops, tablets or smartphones.
Children need ways to relax as much as adults and learning a new hobby can open up doors for a child, helping them become more rounded individuals and meet new people. For parents and children, discovering a new hobby or craft together can be a good way to strengthen the parent-child bond, allowing them to relax in each other’s company and forget about their roles in the family for a while.
Whether you choose to learn something brand new or pick up an old hobby once again, there is no doubt that there are many benefits to finding some free time to indulge a hobby. Knitting or crochet, watercolours or reading, cross-stitch or decoupage, the choices are endless. And making sure you have comfortable, supportive seating will make it even more of a pleasure.
Andy Atkins is a commentator and consultant in the furnishings industry with over 20 years experience of product development and design behind him. Andy has a particular interest in usability-focused design and the development of products that extend beyond the purely functional.