How better to escape the demands of online technology than to switch off one part of the brain and turn towards another creative side of our being?
In a study published in Art Therapy in 2022, researchers found that levels of cortisol (the body’s stress hormone) decreased in 75% of participants who had engaged in artistic production. Research into practice in the areas of health and social care is ongoing but among the many benefits discovered, the study showed that working with clay promoted speedy recovery after illness; helped alleviate anxiety, depression, and stress; and ultimately reduced spending on health and social services.
Making is good for your mental health
Pottery engages the ‘effort-driven reward circuit’, which provides meaningful relief from depression on a neurochemical level. As educator Jenni Lukasiewicz puts it: ‘You put clay on the wheel. It gives you a little fight, and you get past it, and there is this object.’ That ‘little fight’, or the resistance the clay gives back, is part of what gives the practice power, and what can alter the brain’s natural pathways, helping alleviate symptoms of depression.
I offer weekly classes, mornings 10:30-13:00 but can be flexible on days/times depending on the group. Each class is open to only 2 students to allow plenty of individual attention. I offer demonstrations and tuition in all the basic building skills: coiling, slabbing, press moulding and of course throwing, but am more than happy to leave you to explore the clay on your own and guide you when you seek advice.
We can agree a more detailed lesson plan at the start of lessons, and aim to make something which you would personally enjoy making.
A good library of books on ceramics is available, which students are welcome to borrow between classes.
The cost is £40 per person for 2.5 hours. This would be payable in advance per 4-5 lessons and includes all materials and firings. Private classes are also available at £25 per hour.
If you are unable to attend a particular class, where possible, an alternative date will be arranged. Please call 07809446122 or email email@example.com for further details.
There will also be the opportunity to participate in workshop sessions on alternative firing techniques, including saggar, raku and barrel firing.
TASTER SESSIONS - I also offer taster sessions of 2.5 hours. Individually or in pairs, taster classes will introduce beginners to throwing a pot on the wheel. Cost is £70 per person.
This 2.5 hour taster classes will introduce you to handling clay and throwing a pot on the wheel. Hand building techniques will also be taught if requested. After a demonstration, participants will experience throwing their own pots on the wheel. You will learn the basics of wheel throwing, from centering your clay, pulling, shaping and working with your tools, beginning to learn the techniques of throwing cylinders and bowls. Plenty of help and guidance is available throughout. Included in the price, your best pot will be finished, name-stamped, fired, glazed and delivered/collected within approx 8 weeks. Extra pots can be finished and delivered for £15 per pot.
Sessions take place at Alison West Ceramics studio, Stableyard, Chagford, Devon. TQ13 8BW
GIFT VOUCHERS AVAILABLE.
If you are interested in having a chat about classes, taster sessions or gift vouchers, please call Alison on 07809446122 or email me at