Throwing memories on the wheel

Nola Field and her daughter Melissa form bonds of clay and create lasting memories, while also challenging themselves and reducing stress through pottery.

Nola Field and her daughter Melissa tried pottery together for the first time. They discovered a new hobby and a deeper connection with each other. Sakib Ibn Rashid Rhivu/Kicker

Sakib Ibn Rashid Rhivu

In a cozy corner of Clay Cafe Avalon in St. John’s, the soft hum of pottery wheels could be heard as students gathered for a beginner’s class Wednesday.

Under the guidance of instructor Lucy MacLean, students were learning the ins and outs of working with clay on a potter’s wheel.

MacLean has been teaching at the cafe for two years. She says the appeal of pottery lies in the opportunity to create something from scratch.

“People love to have the sense of a creator,” MacLean said. “This (pottery) gives them the opportunity to give their imagination a physical presence.”

Among the students was Nola Field, who had no plans to try pottery. She came to the studio with her daughter Melissa. She asked for the pottery lesson as a birthday gift.

“I’ve never done anything like this before,” Nola said, as she carefully worked the clay on the wheel. “It’s challenging for my shaky hands, but I am enjoying it.”

Melissa says the experience was a chance to connect with her mother in a new way.

“We’re always looking for new things to do together,” said Melissa. “This was a great way to celebrate my birthday and spend some quality time together.”

Pottery instructor Lucy MacLean leads her students through the calming and fulfilling process of creating pottery from scratch. She says this provides a therapeutic and rewarding experience. Sakib Ibn Rashid Rhivu/Kicker

Families can develop stronger personal relationships and deepen bonds by trying out different activities together, says Dr. Kanak Akter, a clinical psychologist.

“Trying something new together can be a great way to create shared experiences and memories,” Akter said.

Nola, who lives alone, says it was a chance to get out of the house and try something different.

“I don’t get out much these days, so this was a real treat,” said Nola.

Along with the social aspects, MacLean says it can work as a stress reliever.

“Pottery can be very meditative,” MacLean said. “It requires you to focus on the task at hand, which can be very calming …”

Bianca Stokes, a recent MUN graduate, came to the studio for fun. 

“I have a really stressful routine, and pottery is a way for me to unwind and relax,” Bianca said, as she struggled to keep her clay in the centre of the wheel.

“I think we’ve found a new hobby.”

– Melissa Field

But for Nola, the experience was about more than just relaxation. It was a chance to challenge herself and try something new at an older age.

“I think it’s important to keep learning and trying new things, no matter how old you are,” said Nola. “It keeps you alive.”

 Engaging in new activities, Akter says, can be particularly beneficial for older adults.

“As we age, it’s easy to get stuck in our ways and stop trying new things,” Akter said. “But trying something new can help keep our minds active and engaged, which is important for mental health.”

It can also bring families together.

Melissa says the experience was an opportunity to bond with her mother and create a lasting memory they would treasure for years.

“I think we’ve found a new hobby,” Melissa said.

About the author

Sakib Ibn Rashid Rhivu is a senior student journalist and the photo editor at Kicker News. While he waits for the sources to respond, he loves to solve the Rubik’s cube.
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