Securing a grant through Council’s Community Assistance Scheme was crucial for Vinnies’ Creative Space Southern Highlands to be able to make Claytime – Ceramics for Wellbeing, available at no cost to community members across Wingecarribee Shire. The series of 10 workshops connected people from all walks of life through a journey of creativity and discovery together.
“The funding made it possible for us to bring a very experienced local Ceramicist, Lyn Eberhart, on board to facilitate these clay workshops, buy the materials needed, and pay for the firing,” says Creative Space Team Leader Tania PD McInnes. “We used part of the grant towards our participation in the Pop-Up trail of open-studios over the June long weekend, showcasing the beautiful results of the workshops during our Annual Arts Show which continues until the end of the month.”
The icing on the cake for Claytime participants is seeing their finished works professionally exhibited at the arts showcase.
Connecting community members from all walks of life, from aspiring artists, to locals with lived experience of mental health struggles, Claytime at Creative Space has been a safe and welcoming environment for social interaction and creativity that promotes wellbeing. “There is well-documented evidence that Arts and creative experiences support mental and physical health, and social inclusion is so important to our wellbeing,” Tania says. “This grant enabled us to keep the opportunity accessible for everyone and build community.”
“Claytime is an incredible way for me to open up to creating again in a nurturing and inspiring environment,” says local resident Mel. “ I love watching the diversity of our many creations emerge under Lyn’s guidance. Just having my hands in clay is such a treat that I look forward to joining the sessions each week.”
A welcoming and judgement-free atmosphere made Claytime a safe and inclusive space for anyone over 18 to get involved. “Being part of the pop-up over this June long weekend really inspired everyone and it’s exciting for them to experience their creativity taking centre stage at the art show,” Tania says.
Another local, Kathy, says “Being in a creative space has been very enjoyable each week. Now that I’m confident working with clay I’m open to trying other art experiences.”
The Creative Space Annual Arts Show that featured many pieces made as part of Claytime, was launched last Friday evening by Council’s Coordinator Community Development, Corinne Buxton who said, “This is exactly the sort of inclusive activity our community-members want to see more of as a way of reaching out and reconnecting through the tough times and the good. Council is so pleased to have the opportunity to contribute to making it happen through our Community Assistance Scheme.”
Involvement in these activities also offers pathways to education, volunteering and employment.
A place where everyone coule come together and feel welcomed, Claytime was particularly engaging because it was a process of getting hands-on working the clay, then firing, applying a glaze and decorating, before re-firing. “The end result is always a bit of a surprise. We shared the magic of working with clay and the joy of celebrating our creative achievements together,” Tania says.
Want to get involved at Creative Space? Visit https://www.vinnies.org.au/nsw/find-help/inclusion/creative-space-southern-highlands Watch their Video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D6epMDHm9JQ
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