Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Astonishing Results of Working with Clay!

More and more people are finding that tapping into their creative selves feels good. Not only that but it has a carry-over effect into other aspects of their lives if they stay with that creativity. 
I have been running workshops focussed on discovering more of our true selves through non-judgmental art-making. I was offered the opportunity to present these workshops at the Gardiner Museum in Toronto using clay as the art material, and have been awed by the response participants have to and with the clay! (http://www.gardinermuseum.on.ca/education/adult-clay-classes )
If you have ever sunk your fingers into a fresh ball of prepared clay you will know what I mean when I talk about the intensity of feeling and emotional reaction one can have. In psychological terms you are experiencing a pre-verbal, visceral reaction that was developed when you were a baby exploring and playing with food and sand and dough...whatever you could get your hands on!
Now of course, you’re in a more verbal stage so playing with clay allows you to regress to a place where words are not necessary.  You will likely still find the texture and responsiveness of it irresistible - as did your ancient ancestors who formed clay for utility and decorative reasons since the beginning of time. The exciting thing is that you are creating something out of nothing, and putting aspects of your self into what is formed!
In an open, unplugged, non-judgmental state interesting shapes can be formed. There is delight in the power we have to create three-dimensional expressions of our inner world AND our outer world. If we want we can pound it down to a simple ball, and then re-form or transform the original shape. You are absorbed in a state of creating where time stands still and your thinking mind has a reprieve. It is deeply satisfying.
Once created the three-dimensional piece has many sides to touch, observe and consider. You may well wonder at the power you have to produce images where the original intention was not clear. Where do these images come from? It is an expression of something beyond words.

“Dr Gene Cohen (Creativity Cracks the Aging Code.   http://www.jewishjournal.com/50_Plus/article/creativity_cracks_the_aging_code_20100323/ ) says that as we enter our 40s and 50s, our brains start firing on all cylinders. We begin using both sides of our brain more (the logical and analytical left side and the artistic right side), which stimulates us to be more creative — and being more creative prompts us to integrate both left- and right-brain capabilities in a happy cycle of artistic energy. As an added bonus, we become more confident and comfortable with ourselves as we age, and so we may cast off the need to conform: After 40, we want to showcase our true selves through the way we speak, act, dress and the things we do. And we may shed the “should have” way of living we previously endorsed, embracing instead the life we really want to live.”

 Clay work can evoke memories and fantasies, it facilitates change within you, and gives you access to a bigger picture of where you are. That is an astonishingly large offer from simple, humble material!