Pottery as Therapy

Sydney psychotherapist  Salene Souza candidly describes her experience of using pottery as  therapy to develop mindfulness and self awareness.

Self care with pottery and lots of learning


I love glasses, mugs and cups … so being able to make my own cup felt WOW!!!

FOR SO MANY YEARS I wanted to learn pottery and I finally put myself in a class … I am glad I found a great teacher and a small supportive group to try it for the first time!

WOW!!! Pottery teaches you a lot about yourself!

All type of art does it … this is the first time I did a pottery course and so far I did 2 parts of it:

1. Throwing
We learnt the basics of throwing clay on a potters wheel. We learn to encompass clay preparation along with throwing techniques including centering and raising. You can make 3 pieces with a choice of cups or bowls.

2. Wheel Turning
We learn to take the pieces made from the throwing class which have dried overnight and will focus on creating a polished piece
We learn to smooth out any rough edges as well a remove any excess clay on your pieces so they are as light as possible and aesthetically pleasing.

In both sessions I was listening from my teacher saying from time to time: “you are doing it too fast … slow it down”.

Oh yes! That is me … always “on the go”… at the moment really focusing on accepting how I am and finding different ways to “slow down”.

Pottery is about being in the moment!

The other thing I have to practice during pottery is “patience for repetition” … to get the technique (mental level) and to practice (physical level). We had 3 pieces to practice on. Practice makes it perfect … in my case makes it ok 🙂

More learning …
Making mistakes:
While wheel throwing –
“we can make mistakes and start over easily, no drama just start over, you might loose a bit of clay because of the water but it is nothing really!
While wheel turning
there is a limit for mistakes you need to take risks and if you do things slow and focused you will not feel your piece of art 🙂 but if you don’t find the balance don’t feel it while you are touching it and noticing if it is too thing or too thin, you can lose the piece and need to go back to throwing and wait 24h and do turning again.

So being MINDFULNESS with the pressure and movement and stillness and the speed of the wheel is a MUST! It feels like when you are learning to drive a car … at first it is too much info, then with practice it become more automatically:) I hope !!!

There is a misunderstanding of knowledge in pottery we need to understand such as math, physics, mindfulness, concentration, emotional regulation and coordination to create something!

Another lesson with pottery is to accept what you got, how it is. During wheel throwing you need to find the moment to stop because you can fix or model it it during wheel turning.
During wheel turning can shape it.

The experience of seeing the end result is so satisfying!

There is an end in each stage … the other lesson while pottering is that we cannot skip stages … we need to focus on each stage. So it takes days or weeks to get the end result. Patience and dedication is crucial, also letting go of perfectionism

I highly recommend Marion from Something at Mary’s. http://somethingatmarys.com, South Sydney, NSW. Australia.

Taking time to pottery is taking time for myself!

Salene Souza – www.salenesouza.com