Happy student Dana's beautiful and calming bird ring!
I am always amazed at how relaxing clay can be. Even in the midst of a busy teaching schedule, just sinking my hands into some Sculpey makes me feel centered and grounded. It's like the rest of the stress and stuff in life just fades into the backfround for me.
Many years ago, I was critically ill. I didn't have the strength or energy to stay conscious for very much of the day. The art in my head began to take over, and stress me out, because I couldn't create with my paints or carvings. Needle work was too delicate and intricate for me, as I would fade in and out, and constantly lose my place. I was bed ridden, and so that created it's own problems.
I was later healed in a Miracle, but for many years, Sculpey was a miracle of it's own for me.
The Physical and Mental Benefits of Sculpting Clay
I could work on a small tray, and work with small bits of clay at a time, without worry that something would dry out, or smear should I falter. I could pick up and go back to it whenever I wished. If I shook, I could smoosh and try again! If I dropped it, I could smooth it out and try again. And when I was just too weak to concentrate, the physical act of kneading and conditioning a small bit of clay at a time gave me comfort, and satisfaction that at least I was doing SOMETHING toward my creative needs.
For a creative not to be able to work toward creating SOMETHING is very painful and stressful. It creates physical anxiety and nervousness. Conditioning, and sculpting with Sculpey during those terrible years gave me hope, and something to look forward to, when all else was frustration and pain. I swear I felt the squeezing and folding and rolling release endorphins for me! At the very least, it took my mind away from the terrible pain that wracked my body.
One reason I LOVE my job as an art instructor, is that I get to share the happiness and joy that creating gives every single day. Of course it's wonderful to create something beautiful or moving, but it goes deeper than that. The act of creating itself is important to your spirit. Polymer clay is one of the easiest, most convienient ways to share that tactile, calming and relaxing act with another. It's not all in your head like it is with drawing or painting. It jumps into reality as it pops up in 3D form and takes the stress of daily life away, even if just for a few minutes!
Tiffany Teske did a very nice post about my Sculpey class in New Jersey at the Create Retreat last week, and I thought it was so interesting that she found a relaxation about it as well. If you would like to read her post, please visit here.
She has several examples of her beautiful projects- I encourage you to take a peek!