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Creating connection with clay & conversation | Canberra Region Activity Wrap Up

Fortem recently invited first responder families to a Make a Pinch Pot Tea Bowl workshop, which was part of the Wellbeing Workshop series held at Lanyon Homestead. The historic homestead and grazing property provided the perfect setting to learn how to use clay to form a pinch pot tea bowl. It was a glorious autumnal day with leaves dropping all over the garden, which created an amazing view from the old sheds on the property where our participants gathered. It was a welcoming and relaxing atmosphere where our group bonded over their shared learning experience and connected with others who understand the first responder life.

In the workshop, the participants used simple pinch pot techniques with clay to make their very own tea bowl for that special cuppa. The location had an amazing clay workshop set with its own firing studio and tools to make an original clay tea pot of each participants making.

The group was greeted by Moraig McKenna, the resident artist who guided them on how to decorate the bowl with patterns from natural materials found in the garden and shown the techniques of how to pinch and manipulate the clay to get different edges and finishes to make each bowl individual. Moraig then showed everyone how to glaze the works ready for firing!

There were some interesting designs, including traditional pinch pot tea bowls, to teapots and one participant even managed to make a dual teacup set for her son’s upcoming wedding, complete with wife and groom initials! What a lovely wedding present!

With a small, intimate group it was lovely to see the participants warm smiles and watch them begin to unwind and relax upon opening their clay packets and begin to manipulate such a natural earthy product between their fingers. Most had never worked with clay before so it was a mixture of enjoyment, excitement and laughter at watching others begin the process – let’s just say there were lots of cracks and laughter to go with starting the process all over again!

It was a great activity to be mindful and be in the moment while focusing on creating something from nature. It allowed most of the participants to learn a new skill working with clay. Taking a hard rectangle block of clay and turning it into something beautiful was a magical experience. It created a sense of pride and a feeling of accomplishment, plus having a piece of handmade art to take home is a meaningful reminder of that sense of wellbeing!

It was also wonderful to watch Moraig wander through the group assisting the participants with what natural materials to use and showing them brush techniques and encouraging everyone to share ideas for their clay pot. While all participants started with the same clay, they all ended up with very different designs!

This activity was a really peaceful and serene experience that saw participants engage quietly in their work, yet as the session went on it was great to see the discussions emerge between the participants. As they gathered inspiration or materials from around the homestead, it was discovered that many had never travelled to this part of Canberra and a few who had never been to Lanyon Homestead. We spoke about how it was nice to engage with others from different agencies and how important it was to try to create time for ourselves.

A few of the participants had never used clay before and were apprehensive about how they would go, but Moraig was great at letting each participant work at their own pace. The workshop could have definitely gone on for several hours longer! With Moraig’ blessing, the wellbeing activity actually went about 30 minutes longer than planned.

While saying goodbye, everyone was so thankful for the opportunity to relax and take time to themselves for the duration of the activity and to be able to engage with like-minded people. It was nice to see everyone sharing their designs and seeing the different designs, and being so positive with each other. Fortem looks forward to inviting our first responder families to many more wellness workshops in the near future!

“I enjoyed the pinch pot workshop it was an activity that made me feel relaxed and destressed.”

Find a Wellbeing Activity in the Canberra region on our Wellbeing Activity Calendar.

Fortem activities are designed to support the mental fitness of our first responder families. Read more about Our Approach.
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