the age of 94, each week this resident, with the steadiest hands I know, makes the most intricate designs made of tiny little dots; his 'spotty clocks' have become his signature and everyone knows him for them. He has been ill recently and was so missed in class by myself and the other residents but oh the joy when we he returned! And the clocks have just got better and better since!
I feel so lucky to have these moments in the work that I do. To be a regular activity people can attend each week that means their minds and hands are engaged and the group can chat and share their stories. To surprise a resident with something they've made that's just come out of the kiln. To watch someone handle a piece of clay for the first time and shriek at how cold it is or be inquisitive about what they can do with it. It's wonderful that from just that ball of clay it can become so individual, be something different for each person I work with and show their talents whilst also creating connections and togetherness.
Last year during London Creativity and Wellbeing Week I was able to celebrate the power of clay in an exhibition I curated called 'Many Old Hands Make Great Work'. It featured the work of four care homes I teach in and aimed to demonstrate the positive benefits that clay engagement can have in bringing out the treasures in people. I was delighted that David and Cordelia from Flourishing Lives attended the show and enjoyed the work enough to invite me to be part of their event this year at Tate Modern called RE:GENERATION.
To say we are excited is an understatement! It is set to be a fantastic week of dance, music and so much more.
I am incredibly grateful to have the support of the same four homes and to be able to exhibit their work again. It is an amazing opportunity to be at Tate Exchange and part of what is set to be a great celebration of creative ageing and a platform for connecting generations through art.
I will be at the event Wed 16 - Fri 18th 12-5pm running a clay workshop alongside the exhibition. It is free for anyone to attend and each day one of the care homes who's work is on display will join me and interact with the willing public! The workshop is themed around the patterns found in the architecture of Tate Modern and the surrounding area. Over the past few weeks in my classes we have been creating carved stamps based on photographs of the buildings. These will be then be used to make your own patterned tiles at the workshop which will form mosaic panels that will return to each care home for permanent display.
Please come and show your support and get involved! You're never too old to try something new!