Clay is an extraordinarily tactile, honest and alluring medium; an ideal vehicle through which to explore, express and discover ones creative inner world. Working with clay is also an excellent tool for exploring fears, attitudes, thoughts and feelings. The use of clay encourages self-discovery and adds to sensory stimulation. It can be an outlet for frustration and improves motor skills. You can tell a lot about people by the way the use their hands and how they explore new limits and experience success or failure. The use of the potter’s wheel in particular requires one to be focused, patient, decisive, delicate and fearless. We teach how to gain these attributes and many take the learning and apply it to not only their pottery work but also to their everyday lives.
We have witnessed dozens of cases where clay work is a powerful vehicle for healing (e.g., depression, hyper activity, stress, cancer recovering patients, etc.) through creative self-expression. It not only helps to release body tension; it is also a lot of fun.
One of the activities at Lakeside Pottery in Stamford is corporate team building. Companies such as Unilever, Coca Cola, MasterCard, Pfizer, GE, American Express, Clairol and Diageo-Guinness spend a few hours at the studio with well-planned exercises, which enable the management teams to reduce stress and most importantly, learn about each other in a completely different way.
For example, a demonstration is given by the instructor of basic pottery techniques and then the team is encouraged to work either in groups or individually to produce a unique project. The results are always exciting for both instructor and participants. Another exercise is the “Discovering Your Senses” activity where the teams work with clay while eyes are closed. As they listen to the instructor’s soothing voice guiding them how to work the clay, they discover that they can actually see with their fingers. They become relaxed with closed eyes focusing on the task in front of them. The instructor seizes this moment of self-reflection and help guides the conversation to further discover who each person really is and not only their identity within the work place hierarchy.
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