I recently attended a workshop on making clay garden sculptures. Basically, pieces of clay were rolled into ropes and coiled around one on top of another to build up the shape we wanted. I hadn’t worked with clay before, so it was both challenging and exciting, especially at the end of the day when I realised I had actually made my own piece of original art for my garden.
It spoke to me on a number of different levels and I thought I’d share my impressions with you:
* trying something new can be scary, but it extends our boundaries, which makes us somehow more complete
* being open to making mistakes in order to learn removes the pressure of ‘perfection’ and allows us to relax and make new discoveries
* deciding to enjoy an experience rather than focusing solely on the outcome helps us to achieve a sense of flow and become fully absorbed in the process, savouring every moment
* learning to work with what we have and practicing proven methods gives a greater chance of a positive and successful result – we worked with a certain amount of clay within a set timeframe – following established processes meant that everyone was able to finish something they were pleased with
* to make our sculptures stronger, we added a ‘stabilisation coil’, an extra loop of clay on the inside of the base, which helps to strengthen the whole piece so it keeps its shape and does not slump, weaken or crack under the weight of what is built on top of it – we can also build resilience so that we are able to keep our basic ‘shape’ under the pressure of life’s less pleasant aspects
* when we left our sculptures at lunchtime we covered the top edge with plastic to prevent it drying out – we also need to find ways to protect and support our own precious personal growth
* learning new skills and achieving something beautiful that gives us joy helps build our confidence and gives us greater courage to go ahead and attempt the next growth challenge
- What new skill would you like to learn or develop more fully?
- What difference would it make to give yourself permission to make mistakes so that you can learn to do better next time?
- How have you grown through attempting something new and achieving a pleasing result?