The Calming Qualities of Modern Ceramic Sculpture

I love working with clay. I especially like creating large complex pieces of work. And I think I like it so much because of the way that it makes me feel. I recently realized that the quality of this feeling that I like most is that it calms me down.

The Calming Qualities of Modern Ceramic Sculpture

People often comment how calming my work feels. I have to say, when people tell me this it never gets old. If creating calming artwork is my calling in life, then I fully embrace itJ And to be honest, it inspires me to create even more calming and meditative inspiring work. 

Until the other day, I had never seriously thought about why my work looks so calming. But now I know…. I think it has to do with the process 

The Process of Making Modern Ceramic Sculpture

If possible, I save those days when I work with raw clay for when I have some problem to solve or my mind has been spinning. I have kind of a ritual. First, I come into the studio and turn on all the lights and eat my breakfast while I check my email. Then I turn on my music and pick the station that complements the tempo of my mood. 

Once I take the clay out of the plastic wrapping and place it on the rolling table, I start to focus. Usually, I start by making a piece that I’ve been thinking about for a while. So reaching for the right mold usually happens without me even thinking about it.  As I roll out the clay into a flat sheet, smooth it over, and then place it over the mold, my mind focuses on two things: what I’m going to make; and whatever is stressing me at that moment. The two seem to work themselves out together as I sculpt the clay away or along the mold. Recently I’ve also begun to suspend my molds using a bucket or bottle so that the clay can fall below the confines of the mold. I love the feeling of sculpting the clay free falling. It makes me feel like I am free from the molds in my life as well.

I also feel out which way the clay wants to move along the mold. Not only does this feel more natural, but it leads to less cracking. I guess that’s how life is too.

Building Large Modern Ceramic Sculpture

After I’ve worked on a several pieces, I usually get more and more ambitious, moving to the larger molds and making even more dramatic pieces. Sometimes, I’ll “cool myself” down by making a few small pieces. After that I usually sit back and contemplate what I made that day. I then pull out large plastic sheets wrap them up for overnight drying, clean up, and turn off the lights with the knowledge that the next day (or sometimes the day after that), I will unwrap my pieces, take them out of the mold and we will again meet on another level. 

This ‘level’ is when they have hardened just enough that they can now come out of the mold. At this point, I smooth out the inside and sculpt the clay further depending on what way the more hardened clay has told me it wants to move. I love it when it wants to do something dramatic. Those are the best pieces and the ones that leave me feeling with the most peace.

I invite you to find the Maggie Minor Designs piece that brings you the most calm and use it as a way to invite more calmness into your own life.