40% of my work time is devoted to my studio sessions with adults, called CLAYTHERAPY, which has now been running for 21 years.
I have about 30 adults coming through the studio per week –some for 2.5 hours per week and some for up to 7.5 hours. A wide range of individuals come: old, young, men, women, professionals, hobbyists, company directors, accountants, gardeners, academics, lecturers, teachers, creatives, less-creatives, artisans, designers: basically ordinary people who do extraordinary things. The amazing thing for me is that they take time out of their busy schedules to come to the studio and spend some time working with clay. The other amazing thing is how quickly they develop their own voices in the medium.
CLAYTHERAPY is a progressive space: non-sexist, non-ageist, non-racial, tolerant, LGBTI friendly, secular and very open minded. It is here that many people’s world views expand when they interact gently with others that they may never have encountered anywhere else in their lives, and the notions of each person’s humanity and innate creativity is celebrated.
So often people come into the space bristling with stress and anxiety, only to leave at the end of the session with their calm restored and their immagination ignited.
We end each year with a now famous event called “One Night Stand” where we show work done through the year and raise money for some very worthwhile charities. It is always wonderful to see all the finished work together.
Although quite a number of now professional ceramicists started out in this space, it is the joy and unfolding creative confidence of “ordinary” people that really makes me proud.