Clay Therapy

Posted October 1, 2016 at 5:45 am by


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

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  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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