A journey from the ground up: What can clay say?
I grew up in Australia, barefoot and surrounded by clay.
Wild spirited art, found objects and the ancient tales of the land continue to lead me. The ground under my feet inspires me to create. I find that contact with the earth enables a sense of emotional stability. With a background in sand therapy, teaching and making art, I explore both embodied and emotional journeys.
‘Groundedness‘ was created in response to a collaborative research project in which young people with mental health issues explored what different types of clay ‘said’ to them. It took place within the context of the end of social distancing and encouraged new social connectedness and a sense of re-grounding.
After extended social isolation during the pandemic, coming together needed ‘relearning’. Getting our hands dirty and being close to others was a challenge. However, we found that having the clay in our hands allowed us to be more social and collaborative; the clay was the reason; the excuse to be close.
The tactile response and the strength and texture of the clay, (terracotta) seemed to provide possibilities for direct connection to the soothing properties of the earth. It became the prompt for social discussion, but it seemed to also provide a space to escape into.
Of the four clays used, terracotta was the most popular for its creative possibilities, texture and calming nature. This creative response illustrates and pushes the clay to it’s limits .
It captures the social burst after the ‘fire’ of a pandemic. The suitcase tree roots ground and highlight the elemental aspects of the clay and the solidity and strength of our collective journeys in coming together:
A celebration of our ‘baggage’.