It's just you, and the feel of wet clay on your fingers as you shape it from a featureless mound to a hollow cylinder, to something unique and beautiful. All the while, the potter's wheel spins round and round. In those quiet moments, it's as if nothing else matters.
Click start to play today’s Word Search, where you can find various vessels, many of which are made from clay.
We live in a world where single-use, throwaway items abound. Digital networking is common, and multiple screens vie for our attention, compelling us to become expert multi-taskers. So, in this daily hustle, why is the unhurried, tactile, ancient craft of pottery gaining popularity?
According to an April 2021 report in UK-based news website BBC, pottery is emerging as the perfect antidote to the digital world. The messy process of working with wet or damp clay and following a process to achieve results creates a mindful sense of calm. It also helps us disconnect from the online world so that we can just focus on the task of crafting something new with our hands.
There’s no compulsive email-checking (your hands are busy) and no fast forward button on your pot (it can take weeks from throwing the pot to finishing with a glaze to firing it multiple times in the kiln).
Pottery’s therapeutic properties have even been backed by science. A 2016 study published in the UK-based International Journal of Art Therapy tested levels of the stress hormone called cortisol in 39 adults before and after they engaged with various forms of art (like throwing a pot on the wheel) for 45 minutes. Researchers found that 75 per cent of the participants’ cortisol levels dropped during the period – and they didn’t even have to be good at making pottery. The results were the same for people from all skill levels.
The process of engaging with clay is also a purposeful slowing down of all our systems. Even though multi-tasking has been viewed positively for years, many of us are now learning to appreciate focusing on a single, absorbing activity – and pottery provides the perfect avenue for it. Like gardening, pottery is an activity that involves working with the earth, using our hands. It also involves getting dirt on your hands – a grounding, sensory experience that is thoroughly enjoyable, and the polar opposite of what we usually do (spray our hands with sanitizer).
In these challenging times, pottery’s quiet, focused sense of calm and mindfulness is drawing people in – and it makes sense why this might be happening.