Clay Therapy


Click to enlarge – Joan Benny photo

by Shannon Dean

I signed up for a Clay Therapy session with local artist Lauren Jawer at her Belle Terre Ceramics Studio, and before it started I met with her to ask more about it so I could share it with you.

I had seen her flyer in town and it seemed like a good addition to my list of activities in my endeavor to find the “more creative me.”

I admit I had no idea what I was in for and you too may wonder what Clay Therapy is… well its not sitting around making a clay pot while you pour out all your troubles. Lauren describes it as being whatever you need it to be, “While working with clay you are able to empty your head out through your hands thus allowing you to be out of your head, much like mediation”. I think even the artistically challenged would find it difficult to mess up this process of exploration with clay.


Click to enlarge – Joan Benny photo

With a little instruction I made 2 pieces of ceramic pottery. She has a lot of stuff in her studio to help you be as creative as you want – I barely touched the tip of the iceberg of possibilities. Afterward, I dreamt all night of all the cool things I could make and now I can’t wait for next Monday.

Lauren grew up on the East coast, married her college sweetheart, had children and moved to the island when her husband was offered a job here. She told me she grew up around artists, that she comes from a family of artists and that she found her niche in textile design. At one time in her career she worked for Liz Claiborne designing scarves. She explained that her art is all about the surface (as her hands and arms moved in horizontal circles).

She describes the art community on the East coast as being very connected and integrated with one another. “There is so much to learn from each other.” She contrasts her experience here on the island where artists seem more isolated. I love that she is trying to bring that community to her work here in Friday Harbor.

For her Fall session she has partnered with Lumi Verdugo, a Raku artist and Lauren has more visions on the horizon for her future workshops. You will be able to see one of these once her Clay House project is complete…


Click to enlarge – Joan Benny photo

In the middle of her garden is a little house made from Island clay which is being sculpted by Jayson Loon of Earthen Culture. It has decorative windows at the top made from plates she got at Community Treasures and on the side she has dedicated part of her place to a lost friend, Amy Lear. Her plan is to showcase her ceramic work inside.

So throw out your preconceptions of pottery that you picked up from the movie “Ghost” and learn why one of her students said “Hey, I thought I was gonna get messy”. Get in touch with Lauren. Her contact information is or 360-378-9425.

Fall sessions are:
Mondays 3:00 to 5:30 pm and 6:00 to 8:30
Tuesdays 1:00 to 3:30 pm.

Classes are on going thru November and starting up again in February
open to ages 11-111

Posted on October 1, 2016 at 5:45 am by

Categories: Arts, Education, People


  1. Where is your studio located? I am thinking of signing up.


    Comment by Ann White on October 1, 2016 at 6:47 pm
  2. Thank you Tim! Another great article filled with your photos… I have always wanted to try a clay wheel and love the process. This may bring it to the table finally for me! Thank you Lauren!

    Comment by tom henry on October 3, 2016 at 7:37 am
  3. Thanks Tom! These were not my photos – I now just fixed it to add “Contributed photo” to each one (thought I had done that originally but apparently not).

    Comment by Tim Dustrude on October 3, 2016 at 10:15 am

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