My memory of working with clay reaches back to my childhood, when I first attended a pottery course. After the course, I was determined to find clay and I remember teaming up with my uncle to gather clay from a nearby mine. It was a mission mixed with danger and excitement.
My teachers encouraged me to go to art school, however I have pursued a different career. I studied psychology, completed a PhD, and have become a university lecturer. I have been a sessional academic since 2003 and throughout the years I have taught various subjects in the areas of cognition, neuroscience, and educational psychology. You can find more details in my CV.
It was in 2015 that I found my way back to clay and have embarked on my creative adventures. I have taken classes in pottery, watercolour, drawing and have also completed an Art Therapy short course. Although I have enjoyed experimenting with different art mediums, I have decided to focus on my pottery practice and explore the therapeutic benefits of working with clay.
I have coined the term 'wheelfulness' to connect the practice of working on the pottery wheel with the psychology of mindfulness. Wheelfulness classes are similar to regular pottery classes in a way that participants will learn fundamental techniques and they will create pots on the wheel. However, wheelfulness classes also include specific exercises and activities that are designed to enhance the therapeutic benefits of working with clay.
In order to create a pot on the wheel, the potter needs to balance the centrifugal force of the spinning wheel and the force applied by the potter’s own hand/will. Wheelfulness courses are designed to raise explicit awareness of these forces and encourage students to reflect on how their ability to master the clay is growing through repeated practice. I believe that this ‘wheelful' approach promotes growth mindset and as a result it not only helps students become better potters but benefits other aspects of their life.
About the Studio
The Wheelfulness Studio is a boutique ceramics workshop in Willoughby. It is equipped with four pottery wheels, providing a relaxing small-group based environment.