There is nothing like working with clay to bring families and friends together. Taking part in a clay workshop and working with family members and friends means that you get to bond as you work on structured tasks. Structured tasks include throwing on the wheel or hand building pots. There is nothing more fulfilling for the workshop leader than to see families working together and encouraging each other as they overcome new challenges and wonder at their new-found skills. Although everyone’s starting point is the same the outcomes are so diverse and 99% of the time the pots that are created are good enough to be taken home, following firing and glazing. These little objets d’art remain on show at home and are a great reminder of a thoroughly enjoyable shared experience.
Throwing together also introduces some healthy competition between family members which is also enjoyable and memorable. Friendly competition creates a relaxed but focussed environment and much learning takes place. Pottery classes have often been the trigger for a life time’s fulfilling hobby. Who knows where it may lead?
Working with clay has often been referred to as a mindful experience. The rhythmic sensation of working happily on the throwing wheel is quite a ‘zen’ experience and is a great way to halt that ‘monkey mind’ that distracts so many of us continually! Indeed, pottery has many therapeutic benefits. For instance, when making a coil pot there is much opportunity for social interaction as the calming, repetitive nature of some of the techniques allows for this. Mental health issues can be alleviated by a morning’s clay workshop when the outside world can be shut out completely for a few, precious hours. Using one’s imagination is a great way to eliminate those nagging, mundane thoughts. Clay work demands all the imagination you can muster from your under-used right brain!
Clay work also fascinates when one wrestles with glaze chemistry in order to combine the right ingredients for a stunning, glaze finish.
Using clay as a medium in the traditional sense is designed to lead to domestic and utilitarian outcomes such as cups, plates, dishes and cookware. Casserole dishes and tagines can be utilitarian but also often take form as beautiful, fine art objects. Therefore, whether you lean towards becoming a potter or a fine art artist pottery will satisfy your ambitions.