Ok, my title of this blog may come across a bit strange, but bear with me, all will become clear!
A few years ago I embarked on a short course at Bolton University, which was entitled Arts for Health and Wellbeing. In a nut shell, this helped me to understand that being creative could help improve a persons mental health and quality of life.
I have been told many times by the adults who have come on my courses over the years that they find it theraputic and relaxing, that simply manipulating the clay, making something, either out or their own imagination or a taught class, really helps them to switch off from the world and to fully engage in something they enjoy.
As a busy mum of two children, spending time on myself was a self indulgent luxury that I could never afford. Other peoples needs always came first and if I did have some Me Time, I would promptly fall asleep exhausted. I learned over the years that I needed to actively find the time to look after my own needs, then I would be better equiped to look after others. It is not just women who find this difficult to do either! When I have had men on my courses they have often said that being able to switch off from their work persona really helped them to de stress.
As Polymer Clay is a comparatively new medium and is not often taught at a regular craft class or in school. It is mostly looked upon as only for children. When I am teaching how to use this clay, people are often pleasantly suprised at how easy it is to use and that it can be something they can keep on learning about on their own from books, videos, YouTube tutorials, and a whole host of other websites. Just learning how to use the scalpel and blades can help improve ones fine motor skills too. In the picture below, Tony enjoyed his first venture into sculpting with the clay as he was only used to draw and paint he found it exciting to learn something new and that he could use his paints to embellish the clay further.
Improve Self Esteem
If I had a pound for every time someone said to me "I'm no good at art, my teacher said I was rubbish" I would be very wealthy!! When we are at school it can often be our first foray into becoming creative, we are encouraged to make, draw, paint, glue and stick, to use our imaginations fully and were praised for it. As we get older things can be a bit different, how we view ourselves and how others see us can influence our confidence and then the self talk becomes "I can't", "I'm no good at.." Working with the clay, lots of encouragment, praise, helpful advice, can all help boost a persons self esteem, not just creatively but this affects the whole person and what ever they do with the rest of their time.
Sense of Joy
Create just because you want to, because it makes you happy, because you like it!!
I must start to listen to my own advice... "do something because it gives you joy! " I am still learning how to do this! As a business owner I find that I often make because I need more stock to sell, because someone else wants it a certain way or I have a deadline that I have to meet. In the summer I made a crazy bird nest tree sculpture out of an old vase... it was bonkers, very fun, colourful and I LOVED making it... I need to more of this, because it gives me joy!!
So, do something that gives you joy and makes you happy... whatever it is!!
Article on Health and Art