FOR US AT
Opens at 9am Monday 20 March and closes at noon Monday 3 April 2017
We seek to assist those who are experiencing some form of emotional upheaval in their lives, such as going through a divorce or grieving the loss of a loved one. Workshops will be led by an experienced tutor, able communicate with empathy and work with unconditional positive regard for each participant.
The workshops will use the teaching of pottery skills to provide an engaging and fun way of treating depressive symptoms through focussing on creating ceramics. When treating depression, pottery therapy promotes the use of care, attention to detail, and the use of both water and heat to create a final product. The therapy provides not only an opportunity to relax through a focus away from depressive feelings, but the opportunity to harness cognitive energy. Participants will learn how to support each other through supervised group interaction, working towards a shared goal. No prior knowledge of pottery skills is required, and workshops will be open to all who may feel isolated within the community with an interest in ceramics, but may perhaps lack the confidence or means to join other craft groups less able to accommodate them because of this.
Workshops will help people explore and develop their skills through professional techniques including: clay modelling, potter's wheel and kiln working. These techniques will improve hand-eye coordination and develop muscles in the hands, wrists and arms. Relaxation techniques will be taught to reduce tension, as well as basic posture (sitting correctly) to promote mind and body confidence. Participants will be invited to exhibit their work, taking pride in their achievements. We wish to see isolated people, through the activity of pottery, improve their emotional state and enjoy a more active, connected life.
Outreach workshops will be held in community centres and other public venues across East Sussex. To bring our therapeutic work to as many people in need as possible, a van will be purchased to transport our heavy equipment necessary for the successful delivery of the project, including kiln, potter's wheel and clay materials.
Participants’ quality of life will be improved with positive impact on their health and wellbeing. Acquiring, practising and developing social and creative skills, with the added benefit of improving concentration and communication skills, will not only enhance those aspects of life, but will also facilitate participants employing new or honed skills in the wider community, improving their chances in life. Greater integration and engagement in community bring benefits such as new or improved ability to meet, befriend and support others, having positive impacts beyond the project itself in reducing isolation and ameliorating or reversing the depression that comes with it. This has potential to reduce the burden on hard-pressed statutory health and social care provision, with healthier and more active people and stronger communities.
As the work is handmade and hand painted by participants using various pottery techniques, the project will provide a good and gentle way of exercising hands, wrists and arms through creation of ceramics (e.g. pots and tiles). It will develop fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Relaxation and improved posture will strengthen core muscles and reduce back pain. It will strengthen concentration and memory. This also helps boost the immune system, increasing resilience to infection. People will be more mentally alert. It can improve sleep through relieving tension.
The project will reduce stress levels, enhancing our feel-good level through the action of the endocrine system. The classes have a relaxing atmosphere where participants may completely switch off while focusing on pottery work. It relaxes them and provides a vital 'release' from every day tension. Psychological benefits are also evident when people work together to create ceramics as well as alone because of the increased sense of community, belonging and shared endeavour. The act of creation will increase self-esteem and confidence, reducing anger, depression and anxiety. It will animate the body, mind and spirit. Above all, it is healing.
People will have a safe environment in which to try new skills and make new friends regardless of background. It will combat isolation and a sense of feeling ostracised. People will share a common purpose, encouraging a sense of community. They will learn to give and receive positive feedback, improving interpersonal skills. Studying colour, shapes, sizes and patterns will stimulate insight into ceramics, unlocking hidden talent and appreciation into the creation of household items.
Firstly, we will hold a consultation with communities over East Sussex, outlining our plans and requesting input from people to help shape our service development. For example, we will ask people in these communities about the best locations for workshops (e.g. venues that are accessible and within walking distance of homes or close to major public transport routes).
We will engage with local health professionals and voluntary groups that support physical and mental wellbeing so that they may encourage, but not put pressure on, people to join, so that project beneficiaries have a recommendation from a trusted individual to develop their participation and benefits further; this is important in respect of any social anxieties or perceived skills that new participants may have about taking part. We will also be able to identify the concerns about participating that people may have, and where possible assuage these concerns.
Participants will select the ceramic objects they wish to create (e.g. bowls, plates, pots). Everyone will have an opportunity to exhibit their creations. We will invite regular feedback from participants to ensure that the project is constantly meeting their needs, and invite suggestions for other pottery-based activities that they feel would support them on their journey to increased wellbeing and feeling more socially connected.