Connecting through clay

Staff have had the opportunity to be part of the clay lanterns project, begun with students

Staff have had the opportunity to be part of the clay lanterns project, begun with students

By Amanda Andlee Poland, Head of Creative Arts  

A small group of Secondary School staff from across a range of departments (Library, Maths, English, Science, Creative Arts, Careers) have joined a PL program to create a hand-built sculptural work. The works are created in fine white clay and explore the concept of light and are designed to function as a lantern. The lanterns are planned to be used in a digital interdisciplinary end-of-year event, along with more than one hundred other diverse lanterns created Years 7 -12 Visual Art students. 

Staff have deeply engaged and created forms that were then embellished through carving, piercing and incising techniques. Symbols and shapes expressed the inner and/or outer world based on memory, nature, emotion, and historical design. 

Over the first two after-school sessions, the aim of the program to promote wellbeing through connections, cooperation, conversation and creative collaboration has already been achieved. The sense of being in the moment, feeling pride and joy was evident in the Visual Arts studio, as revealed in the series of images. One participant said, “I didn’t even think about my day once while I was working with the clay.”  

An American study in 2016 revealed that cortisol levels decreased in 75% of participants after engaging in artistic production for 45 mins. For many of us, the benefits of creative activity make sense on an instinctive level. Long-term Bendigo potter, Graham Masters, described his pottery-making as “a bit of a meditation process”.  

The Radford staff worked with COVID-safe guidelines in the studio, and additional time was spent independently at home to complete the works, which are now drying until they are ready to be fired.

In a world that, for many, feels increasingly unstable, wedging a ball of clay with your hands and creating a form is a great way to unplug and connect with the present moment.





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