Pottery can be described as a therapeutic and relaxing form of art. While you are spinning clay, your mind and body are in natural synergy, thinking about creative ambitions and goals, and your piece of art. At the same time, you are letting the stresses and worries of the day melt away, by opening up your mind and achieving inner peace.

Attending a class alone can seem initially overwhelming, but going to a supportive and regular class allows for learning a new skill and making something useful or creative, and at the same time having fun. There are both physical and mental benefits you can get from expressing yourself by creating something. Art offers an outlet and a release from everything, and with pottery you can produce something and express yourself in some way.

Pottery enables for improvements in flow and spontaneity, provides an outlet for grief, and helps you with self-identification and self-expression, bolstering confidence and self-esteem, and it can make you more optimistic. Myself and others attending Clay Design felt that more free classes like this are needed locally.

Pottery allows you to escape the worries of life and shift your focus toward your creation. During the process, outside influences don’t affect your work so you dedicate your time to your creation and that is great for mental health and wellbeing. Being able to fully focus something helps the mind relax and expand, which in turn can help a person to then focus in other areas of life.

Pottery helps you to express your creativity, which is essentially to expand who we are and how we connect to ourselves and the environment. It’s a good way for people of all ages to explore the things they can do. You may be more creative than you think and there’s no right or wrong way in pottery. Our hands are an outlet for creativity, the sense of touch is of high importance. A lot of focus is required while you’re making pottery, therefore outside distractions are reduced and no longer stress you out.

The movement of making pottery is gentle yet strengthening to the hands, wrists, and arms. Pottery, is an activity that stimulates mental activity as much as physical, it is the perfect hobby for those who like to expend their energy internally. While partaking in group pottery, however, one can socialise confidently with other potters while still allowing for silence. This year’s theme of Reclaim, shows that learning a new skill trying something out of your comfort zone can be helpful in mental health support. The group setting and calm atmosphere helps relax any socially anxieties. It allows for conversation, and to be quiet your choice in a very supportive environment.

I found that attending this class, building coils and having the fun experience of using the potter’s wheel allowed for personal time to let go of daily stress. It also allows for being in a supportive social setting whilst enjoying the arts. Also in attendance in the class was LAMH coordinator Carolyn Martin, who was available to ask questions and let people know about vital mental health services in the area, which I thought was extremely helpful.

Since pottery is a hobby known for reducing stress and boosting self-esteem, pain caused by stress and mental health problems may be alleviated while taking part in pottery. This class can capture memories, such as making a plate, then in future it can then be used for meals for special occasions and handed down to other family members or friends in the future. Making something from scratch and seeing the creation in its final form will serve as a reminder of your accomplishments.

Art is an important hobby for self-expression. It is a good way to connect with yourself by expanding your body and mind, embarking on new creations, learning new techniques and finishing your creations can contribute to a lifetime commitment of learning and maintaining a productive hobby and mental wellbeing. Making something from start to finish creates a great sense of achievement and it is a daily reminder to reclaiming wellbeing and that learning new skills and trying new things in life are so important for mental health and wellbeing.

I would definitely recommend pottery as a hobby. It is fun and a great way to reclaim peace of mind in the time you are focusing on what you are making. For mental health, wellbeing and happiness, pottery is great skill to master at any age. I look forward to attending more classes in the future.

by Shirley Hellyar

Shirley is a writer, actor and model, currently writing her first screenplay, and acting as full-time carer for her disabled dad. She has dyslexia, anxiety and depression. She wants to show that with the right help and support anything is possible, and being honest about mental health difficulties is so important in reclaiming who you are.


Reserve your place now for the final Clay Design workshop at SMHAF 2017, which takes place on Tue 24 Oct at 1.30pm at Hamilton Town House.