Clay is set to be the next big thing in self- expression, mindfulness and meditation!
Over the past few years pottery has crept up to celebrity status with many taking to Instagram to share posts of themselves behind a pottery wheel, boasting their new love of pottery while covered in clay. From models to actors to fashion designers everyone seems to be embracing this form of creativity in one way or another. It’s easy to understand why though as clay has such a soothing and calming effect.
Pottery has been elevated to the must-try-now medium of choice when it comes to mindfulness. It has proved to be a steadfast, stable grounding in a tech-addicted culture where you can just switch off and be present in the moment. According to Thomas Lawson of the California Institute of the Arts, ‘clays increasing appeal comes in part from a need to restore the element of touch to their (peoples) lives.’ Jennie Jieun Lee, an art- world ceramicist sees pottery as ‘a holistic antidepressant.’
Today pottery is a proven method of art therapy. Cortisol (the body’s stress hormone) is decreased by 75% of participants who engage in artist production, according to a study published in Art Therapy, Journal of the American Art Therapy Association. Furthermore, a 2016 study by Hong Kong based psychotherapist Joshua K.M. Nan and Rainbow T.H Ho, a fellow professor at the University of Hong Kong, published in the Journal of Affective Disorders April 2017, suggests that clay art therapy will improve general health, holistic body-mind-spirit well-being as well as the ability to understand and express thoughts and emotions.
With proven benefits to one’s physical and mental health it’s easy to see why pottery has become more than just a hobby. So strong is the interest in ceramics right now that many galleries have begun incorporating ceramics into their programs and public and private educational institutions and colleges offering pottery classes are thriving. Last year two museums in the U.S., The American Museum of Ceramic Art in Pomona, California and The Craft and Folk Museum in Los Angeles, California, launched ceramic biennials. This year also sees the International Ceramics Festival, a 3-day event now in its 17th year, which brings ceramicists from all over the world to the UK. Held every second year in Aberystwyth Arts Centre on the campus of Aberystwyth University on the mid-Wales coast, this event has grown to be the leading ceramics event in the UK.
With ceramics being so ‘on point’ at the moment many fashion designers have blurred the lines between ceramics solely for interiors and started integrating it into their collections by stocking earthenware in their stores or commissioning works by young potters to sell on their websites. John Booth, best known for his prints for fashion house Fendi has turned to ceramics and funds his studio by selling works through Instagram. What started out for Booth as an evening class at Turned Earth collective in 2015 after which he sold his first edition of 50 plates within 2 days, has now turned into a full-time livelihood. Many have started out by taking evening classes and this has grown into a large community that share resources, flourishing across the country such as Glasgow Ceramics Studio.
Helen Richie, co-curator of the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, London, feels that ceramics are quite “buzzy at the moment” due to “the fact that there are more younger collectors…spending on something handmade that they really love rather than buying something mass-produced or disposable.” Ceramic Art London, the annual event showcasing local and International artists, allows many the opportunity to buy affordable works.
Gone are the days where pottery was solely for functional purposes. Today it serves as more than just a craft but as an art form itself. This can be seen in recent exhibitions such as at Art Basel Miami Beach 2018 where The Haas Brothers’ colourful biomorphic ceramics sold within minutes of the fair opening in the Marianne Boesky Booth. Many galleries and museums are acquiring artworks for their collections. The intrigue of 3-dimensional objects and the wonder of how they are made shows how interested people are in moving away from the 2-dimensional screens of their daily lives.
When something is handmade there is a connection between artist and viewer. This liberating artform is bringing people closer to nature and nurturing our sense of touch. Being able to lose yourself for hours in this meditative practise is just the escape that people are looking for. There has never been a better time to feel the soothing and calming effects that clay has on the soul than now! Join in for pottery classes and experience the stimulating and satisfying effects for yourself.
Cathrine’s Creations – Pottery Classes take place on various days of the week in the studio situated in Sunnydale on the beautiful South Peninsula of the Western Cape. Please get in touch via Whatsapp on 084 953 2737 to experience all that pottery has to offer.