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As someone who works in clay, and other forms of art and craft, such as painting, photography, creative design and so forth, I have learned to seek out mechanisms that help me keep the focus on the clay and what I am doing with it. When I'm in the studio, I don't want to drag in internal states that can just get in the way, like certain emotional infusions and negative self-talk. I ran across this article about "craft as therapy", and it's a good read. I was about ready to quit my BFA program due to internal and external hardship. Several art instructors were kind enough and astute enough to notice and say "the right things" that empowered me to hang tough. There was one ceramics instructor tho, whose response to me ever opening my mouth to discuss clay in relation to the creative process, as an activity that made me consciously feel good, was to repeatedly issue a put-down: "art is not therapy". He'd tone it as though I'd committed the worst sin of an artist, verging on being a dillitant, and should get the heck out of his class. It was emotionally destructive, since I was on the brink of disaster anyway, and more so since I was intent on becoming the next Peter Voulkus and he was squashing my dream. Paradoxically, I found validation through therapy, that making art is indeed good for the Self, and I silently told him to take his point of view and stick it somewhere dark. I completed my degree (crafts and materials/ceramics). That plus my love of art has keep me going through some rough times. Being a craftsman or using the making of art as a support for being a healthier person in no way negates or dilutes the responsibility (whether self-imposed, or by global standards) to make the best art/object possible within one's skill set. It's not either-or, it is yes, and. Anyway---maybe this piece is of interest to some members. Check it out. https://www.sciencealert.com/modern-life-is-brutal-here-s-why-craft-is-so-good-for-our-health
Let me know what works for you as far as prioritizing gifts that need to be thrown or hand built for the holiday season. This will be my first season making gifts for friends and family and I have a long list so far (at least 20 to start with). Any tips on making it a stress-free endeavor? Signed, The Newbie