My story, my work and my dreams
Why pottery and Mental healing?
My name is Elisa; I am a woman, a mum, a daughter, a friend and a wife… and a passionate ceramicist/potter.
I am happily married, and I am the proud mum of three children. Both my husband and I are Italian.
I started working with clay during a difficult time in my life back in 2014. As soon as I was introduced to ceramics, I was immediately hooked. Clay and the potters wheel quickly became my passion, my go-to activity when I need some me-time and stress relief. Working with clay makes me feel connected to myself and centered.
I completed my studies in ceramics at the Academy of Fine Arts in Lier, Belgium, in June 2019 and have since then dreamt of engaging with clay in a way that is beyond it being my hobby.
In the summer of 2020 we moved to Ireland from Belgium following a business assignment of my husband’s. I decided this was the right time to avail of the opportunity to take a career break, with the intention of dedicating myself to pottery full-time.
Not only pottery is dear to my heart, but so is mental well-being. Working with clay has helped me through difficult times and I am convinced that clay has something special to offer to people. Its tactile nature, its malleability, its versatility and adaptability and endless creative possibilities, makes clay a unique material to express ourselves, beyond words or any other material. Working with clay can become a way to understand ourselves, our needs, accept ourselves and the ways of life…
Mental Healing Through Clay
Mental healing through clay talks about me and about my journey to version 2.0 of myself.
Version 2.0 of me is able to face the world with more confidence, more self-awareness and experience.
Besides telling my own story, the book tells the story of many people out there, who are embarking on or who have lived through that same journey. It tells the story of those people who have faced great challenges and great struggles with themselves, a phenomenon better known as depression.
This phenomenon is surging in our society. In our Western society, mental health issues tend to be ignored and with society’s increasing pressures and demands it tends to estrange people from being themselves, thus magnifying the problem. Stress increases, as pressures to perform and achieve results are ever more demanding while our brains are overstimulated and constantly triggered. We are hardly allowed any space for downtime, or time to rest, recover, explore or even properly think things over. We tend to force ourselves into being what we are not.
It comes therefore as no surprise that a lot of people have mental health issues that risk being transformed in physical disease as well.
To escape this vicious cycle, we need time to relax, create mind space and discover ourselves. With time to rest I do not intend getting distracted in front of the telly, but I suggest finding an activity that feeds our souls and that generates energy. Art or music can offer a great opportunity to create mind space, but for me specifically this activity has been ceramics.
In the book I talk about the unique characteristics of clay and its different stages towards the creation of a finished ceramic object, and I compare this with what we need to feel better in our modern chaotic and demanding society. In the book I talk about the importance of getting to know and accept ourselves, of the importance of self-care, finding support and acceptance within our community.
I introduce a series of Japanese philosophical concepts, originated in a completely different type of society. Those philosophical concepts appreciate the beauty in imperfection, and aspects of human nature and the environment are deeply respected. These concepts allow for a general acceptance of the good and the bad things in life, they embrace change and transformation which are seen as an opportunity to grow and develop. These philosophic concepts have also an active role in artistic expression, amongst which also ceramic art.
The aim of Mental Healing through clay is to help people going through a rough period in life, hopefully making them feel less alone on their journey. With my story I hope to facilitate other people find their way out of depression or other mental health issues and provide them with hope there is a way out of the tunnel.
I love working with clay: it is my passion. I could work with clay all day, every day.
Working with clay makes me feel good. It gives me great satisfaction to make something beautiful from a formless and sticky heap of clay. What a sense of satisfaction I have when my finished pieces turn out to be appreciated and loved by the people that interact with them!
Sometimes clay is a bit of a mystery: there are so many variables and sometimes a piece can turn out to be totally different to what I intended it to be. It can generate a happy surprise and otherwise, I am sure I learned something new.
Working with clay is a bit like life: sometimes things are not going according to plan, but it is an ongoing enriching learning experience either way!
I believe clay is a great medium for our mental health. Our mental well-being is a life-long work in progress, and it is put under severe pressure by an endless amount of events in life that can undermine it.
Through my work with clay and by offering clay courses , I would like to introduce interested people to this fabulous medium in order to relax, while learning to accept oneself and have a good time together.
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35 Offington Dr, Howth Demesne, Dublin, D13 E2H9, Ireland
+353 85 252 7582