The Gardiner is thrilled to announce the launch of CLAY, an original in-house restaurant offering seasonal menus of fresh, local fare in collaboration with The Food Dudes.
Ai Weiwei is one of the world’s most influential artists and human rights activists, and one of China’s most formidable critics. Ai Weiwei: Unbroken features a selection of the artist's most iconic ceramics, and marks the international debut of new work. Opens February 28!
Drawing from the Gardiner’s own collection and artist Ai Weiwei’s practice in traditional Chinese craft, Dr. Maris Boyd Gillette explores how Jingdezhen porcelain has inspired ceramists to create, copy, and counterfeit its glories.
The Gardiner Museum is among the few museums in the world focused on ceramics, and is one of the most important specialty museums internationally. It houses approximately 4,000 objects, including European porcelain, ceramics from the Ancient Americas, Chinese porcelain, Japanese porcelain, and contemporary ceramics. Search the collection online!
Everyone can love clay! Become a Friend at one of the world’s great specialty museums and enjoy the benefits, including unlimited admission, invitations to exhibition previews and special events, discounts on lectures and clay classes, and more.
Pottery has taken on celebrity status lately, with the fashion world, star Instagram potters, and even mega-celebrities like Brad Pitt embracing ceramics. It isn’t hard to see its allure—in a world that feels increasingly unstable, kneading a slab of clay with your hands is a great way to unplug and connect with the present moment.
Model Lindsey Wixson, who recently quit her fashion career to pursue pottery. Photo courtesy @lindsaywixson.
Indeed, the therapeutic effects that experimenting with clay can have are much needed in today’s fast-paced society, where nearly a quarter of Canadians aged 15 and older find most days to be ‘quite a bit’ or ‘extremely stressful’, and more and more health experts are starting to embrace pottery and other forms of art-making as a crucial element in maintaining one’s wellbeing.
In a study published in Art Therapy last year, researchers found that levels of cortisol (the body’s stress hormone) decreased in 75% of participants who had engaged in artistic production. More recently, researchers in the UK conducted an inquiry into practice and research in the arts in the areas of health and social care. Among the many benefits discovered, the study showed that artmaking promoted speedy recovery after illness; helped alleviate anxiety, depression, and stress; and ultimately reduced spending on health and social services.
Photo: Celia Zhang
Since our fingertips contain some of the densest areas of nerve endings on the human body, simply playing with clay and stimulating the pressure points in our hands can have immense therapeutic benefits. Clay also provides a natural way to connect with body and breath—the malleability and immediacy of the material naturally integrates the mind-body connection, something much needed in our often hectic lives. “I’m having a moment of getting to feel emotion at my fingertips,” Brad Pitt recently revealed in a GQ interview in which he discussed his newfound passion for pottery.
Clay class at the Gardiner Museum. Photo: Lisa Sakulensky
Ultimately, experimenting with clay has practical advantages that you don’t need celebrity status to reap. With proven benefits for both one’s physical and mental health, pottery is the perfect way to integrate self-care and creativity into your daily life.
After the sold-out success of the Gardiner’s first mindfulness workshops, we’re excited to introduce a brand new six-week course designed to maximize the therapeutic benefits of working with clay. Led by registered art therapist Suzanne Thomson, participants will get the chance to explore clay as a medium for deepening experiences of the present moment. Learn more and register here.
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