I imagine I’m in the minority here, but I do not feel stuck at home. I really enjoy the space that is my home. I am an object-orientated person (hence my love of ceramics) and I have surrounded myself with beautiful things that I love to look at—meaningful objects from my travels, collected art, and handmade ceramics from fellow potters. I also have a studio in my basement, which provides me with a daily respite from the constant barrage of news and general chaos. Even a small amount of creativity can help us manage our mood and boost wellbeing, a fact that is now supported by the findings of a recent BBC Arts survey.1
Practicing a craft during time spent at home can be soothing and uplifting. Last year, the BBC Arts survey of almost 50,000 people found that creative activity can help in coping with difficult emotions. The research shows there are three main ways we use creativity:2
- As a distraction tool to avoid or mitigate stress.
- As a contemplation tool to give us the mind space to reassess problems in our lives and make plans.
- As a means of self development to build up self esteem and confidence.
The research found that getting hands on with something new and creative is important regardless of skill level; it is the attempt and involvement that counts.
The mix of relaxing repetition and mind-focusing concentration required by hand-making crafts may be just what you need this week, so we wanted to remind you about our online library of free and engaging resources for ceramic artists to help keep your mind active and healthy at home:
- CLAYflicks is posting videos of inspirational tips, techniques, and resources for FREE with the aptly named FREEflicks! (https://bit.ly/2K28WCF)
- Ceramics Monthly selected several issues with reader-favorite focus topics from the last five years and made them available for free. (https://bit.ly/2xVY72a)
- Pottery Making Illustrated pulled a year’s worth of issues filled with mix-and-match projects and made them available for free. (https://bit.ly/2RoUN6p)
- Freebies: The Freebies page on the Ceramic Arts Network website has 26 PDFs jam-packed with tips, techniques, and recipes. (https://bit.ly/3c60rT1)
For anyone looking for distraction in a magazine, the following pages are also filled with the best new how-to projects we could find on many potter’s favorite topic, wheel throwing. Dawn Candy returns to teach us how to throw double-walled forms to make a mortar and pestle. Lucy Fagella shows us her method for mixing and throwing with fiber clay. Glenn Woods tackles the difficult task of instructing readers how to throw bottles with tall, thin necks. Dane Hodges demonstrates thrown-and-altered baskets combined with a water-etching technique, while Sarah McCarthy helps us build outdoor planters and Sumi von Dassow creates an innovative people feeder. We also have refiring tips, dinnerware glazing ideas, and best practices for drying your work. In addition to all of those projects you can try at home, we are showcasing the ICAN (International Ceramic Artists Network) Juried Exhibition “Short & Stout.” This show features 20 highly creative teapots along with Ivor Lewis’ astute text filled with considerations for designing your own.
I’m certain there is something here or online to help everyone remain creative and emotionally healthy in the months to come. Happy making!