17 Feb Ceramics improves our wellbeing during a Covid lockdown
Practising ceramics improves our wellbeing during a Covid lockdown so effectively, that more and more people have decided to adopt this new hobby. All of our lives changed drastically when the Covid-19 pandemic spread globally throughout the beginning of 2020, however, practising a creative hobby has helped us all to overcome these changes and improve our wellbeing. There are mental, physical, creative, and spiritual benefits when working with clay, mainly due to the fact that we share so many similarities with this material. Clay goes through many physical and chemical changes, just like us. Bodies of clay possess both strength and weaknesses, they can be functional, blessed with purpose and yet also aesthetic beauty. In essence, clay possesses a sense of mood and emotion, just like the ceramicist itself. Perhaps this is why ceramicists feel a sense of closeness and connection with their work, we have appreciation for the process and journey that a clay object undergoes.
At 137° Ceramic Art Studio, we offer weekly and monthly intensive courses to guide you through your creative practise. Courses are carried out in the studio under the Covid regulations, ensuring our students are confirming to the correct safety measures.
Concentration & focus.
The nature of clay is extremely volatile, so making ceramics requires a higher level of concentration and focus. Some projects can be very technical, especially if there are lots of elements that need to fit together in order to fulfil a function, like a teapot. Making ceramics teaches us to pay attention to minuscule details that will either make or break the finished product. Depending on the style, ceramicists create intricate and detailed decorations on their pieces, and this definitely requires a steady hand. When we maintain focus throughout a project, it sharpens our knowledge and intuition and gives our brains the positive boost that it needs. High doses of concentration and focus effectively exercises our mind and contributes to a healthier mindset.
Motivation & resilience
Working with ceramics improves our wellbeing during a Covid lockdown so effectively because it fights our procrastination! Many of us are guilty of starting a project and never finishing it. However, we soon learn that the process of ceramics doesn’t allow us to simply abandon the work. Unless we take special care to prevent clay from drying out, it becomes unusable after a while and less adaptable to change, which can result in having to put moisture back into the clay, thus adding more time to the project. Therefore, it’s often better to work at a quicker pace and once you get into a good flow and it’s very difficult to stop once you see your progress.
“There’s something very mindful about ceramics, you have to concentrate.
I enjoy the time to myself each week just doing something creative. It makes me feel calm, time disappears..” – Leah, ceramics student at 137°.
The more you become familiar with the ceramic making process, the quicker you overcome the disappointment of breakages and disasters. As the saying goes, ‘it’s not about how many times you fall down, it’s about how many times you get back up again.’ In the world of ceramics, it’s inevitable that something will go wrong, but that’s totally ok, and we actually learn a lot throughout this process whilst having a bit of fun. If you begin the practise with perfectionism, the road will not be smooth sailing, so just embrace the difficulties, embrace the wobbly moments, because what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger!
You can find everything you need for making ceramics and experiment with all the materials you want quite easy now days.
Tranquility & hope
Ceramics is a therapeutic art practise that creates an atmosphere of relaxation and peace of mind without us knowing it. Some students take ceramics classes purely as a way of therapy to focus on the sensations of clay and the various different materials. Some artists practise being blindfolded whilst they are wheel throwing to really involve the senses and enjoy a more spontaneous approach. Ceramics improves our wellbeing during a Covid lockdown because it inspires hope and this is essential during a lockdown. Simply, we hope that normality will one day return. It’s so important that we adopt this mindset with our ceramics, and not let pessimism creep into our practise.
The moment we place our ceramics into the kiln for firing, all we can hope for is that our creations fulfil our expectation, and often we find the results are more amazing than we could imagine. We hope for the perfect glaze colour, the precise size after shrinkage, and often, we hope that our work is strong and all in one piece. Every time our work is finished firing, we feel wonderful excitement.
Ceramics is an optimistic art form, we associate it with the future and what our creations will become, whether it’s a vase, a dinner plate or a sculpture, ceramics looks forward to an inspiring future.
Written by Freya Saleh