Earthen silk-like velvety slipperiness of cool clay in hands. Warm palms meet cool clay in celebration of contrast. Warm and cool. Soft yet firm. Its suppleness invites touch and kneading. Shapeshifting stirred by strength, will and desire to create. Palms, fingers and thumbs eagerly begin the magic of play, creation and manipulation of transforming material from one form to another. Hands pleasure in the fresh feel of clay in the moist form, perfect malleable state to create. The softness of skin meets the gentle quality of earth and water. Blending elements and combining forces. Earth and water. Now the fiery warmth of hands from the power of each heart. Fire.
Clay spheres begin to come into being. Full and round. Formed from patient gentle strength. Even pressure applied to all parts of the surface. Motion. Pressing. Smoothing. Hands gliding over an ever changing surface. Ever so slowly warming. Clay forming, turning into and now transforming. What was, is no longer. Now whole and round like Earth.
Around the off-white canvas work surface, each one up on a stool, younger or older each with a moist clay sphere in their open hands. Gently formed. Fingers and palms now earth covered from forming. Eyes open and ready. Thumbs outstretched ready to begin this new transformation of the spherical form into something new. Thumbs push gently in, slowly, plunging into cool silken clay. Resilient and open to slow and steady change. Gentle yet firm touch. Gliding. Smoothing. Forming. Becoming.
Thumb pressing downward and out while fingers draw upward like a team of horses cantering uphill. Slowly though. Clay changes form with greater ease with patience and understanding. Thoughtful intention. Fingers and thumbs dance around the changing surface of the clay, now becoming a vessel. A vessel formed by time, that will perhaps last forever. Formed by self-expression and the amazing work of the earth, air, fire and water elements. After the element of water evaporates into the element of air over time. Bone dry. Creating and becoming. Soon bisque. Then glazed. Transforming from one form to another.
Exploring the elements of clay is valuable and wonderful at any age. Hands are the outlet for creativity. Exploration and experimentation go hand in hand with further understanding of who we are and how we acclimate to our social and worldly environment. When done in a group, working with clay can assist in dissipating social insecurities and encourage social engagement. Its spurs the mind to focus on creating rather than doubting. Work with clay is a beneficial in creating multiple opportunities to problem solve.
Clay has countless benefits. Additionally, it is just really fun to play with. So much so that one can completely lose track of time. One way to find out how fun clay is to work with is to look up the Davis Art Center, and find out more about available classes for all ages. The Art Center has an established Clay Studio, with many classes to choose from.
I offer mini camps throughout the summer for children ages 5 and up. Come and join in the fun! Let’s see what your child’s imagination comes up with next. Come and explore the amazing elements of clay. In the camp we will develop our hand building and sculpting skills, and learn effective technique. We will also experiment with glazing, including dip glazing. Students will love watching the clay transform over the course of the week. Projects will include pots, vases and animal shaped bowls, as well as whatever the imagination might spark! In addition to the mini camps, I also am offering four two-part family clay workshops throughout the summer. Families will learn or develop hand building skills and become more familiar with the transformative elements of clay. Also, be sure to be on the lookout for multi-age ceramics classes when the fall schedule come out. You can find classes online at davisartscenter.org.