Connecting with your creative side — why does it matter even more during difficult times?
On March 17, the Terra Linda Ceramic Artists studio went on lockdown along with hundreds of other Marin businesses. At the time of the closure, the studio was running six adult classes and three youth classes a week. We scrambled to continue to provide ceramics classes to my students, and within a week we went virtual. It took courage to jump into a drastically different way of learning, patience to proceed not knowing when or if ceramic firings would happen, and ingenuity to improvise a safe clay working area. Virtual learning is not for everyone, and many students who felt they could not join the online classes grieved the loss of their community, the lack of social contact and the sudden impossibility of creating with a medium unlike any other: clay.
Working with clay connects you to a 25,000-year-old art-making tradition. A gift from the earth’s crust, this eroded igneous rock possesses phenomenal properties that make the art of ceramics a never-ending dance of exploration and discovery.
Working with clay is physical, mesmerizing, enriching, therapeutic and meditative. It is simultaneously a deeply personal experience and a strong connection to others. You can create functional pieces, components for a totem or tiles; you can make a sculpture or a relief — the options are endless.
Through the process of working with clay, you can express your thoughts and emotions in new ways; you can find your voice. You can become an exhibiting artist or not, do it for fun or professionally. And as much as the learning can be challenging, perseverance and getting support make the outcome satisfying and rewarding.
Until the Covid-19 pandemic hit, ceramics communities gathered in private studios, community centers, high schools and colleges. It has been a difficult transition from an in-person studio setting where everything is accessible to a virtual setup where someone might only have a kitchen counter to work on. But the resilience I have seen in my students is incredible. I witnessed amazing growth, and beautiful work was created during these difficult and uncertain times, a testament to everyone’s dedication to their art and community. As my students say:
M. Carlson: “For one who lives alone, each week I had something to look forward to. Ceramics grew from a fun hobby to a full-time passion.”
H. Austin-Weir: “There’s something wonderful about the tactile nature of clay that really focuses me.”
S. Harding: “I have pursued the arts in Marin with other groups, and TLCA is the most welcoming, vibrant and supportive arts crowd I have found! TLCA has kept me engaged and working on projects while sheltering at home.”
Still the best-kept art secret in Marin, this small studio generates wonderful art and provides a supportive and fun community to explore and grow with. This year we were named the Pacific Sun’s “Best of Marin 2020” for Best Art Studio and Best Art Instructor. Visit our website for our upcoming exhibit and other fun news, terralindaceramicartists.com.