The Gardiner Museum is closed temporarily in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Check our homepage for a rotating selection of online resources and digital art experiences that you can enjoy at home. Be sure to sign up for our e-newsletter and follow us on social media for your daily ceramics fix.
During our temporary closure, we're posting exhibitions and selections from our collection online. Discover Inuit ceramics, Chinese and Japanese porcelain, pottery from the Ancient Americas, and more!
We're posting family-friendly art activities inspired by our collection and the endless possibilities of clay. Visit our Family Day page for weekly crafts, colouring pages, and more fun art projects that you can enjoy at home.
Every object in our permanent collection can be accessed through our eMuseum portal. Learn about individual collecting areas, like Italian Maiolica or Modern and Contemporary Ceramics, or search the full collection by keyword. You'll be amazed by what you discover!
We’re closed until further notice, but we’re planning for the day when we can again welcome visitors. We encourage you to make a gift to the Gardiner. This will be vital for when we reopen, and is the optimistic message we all need.
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.
111 Queen's Park
Canada, M5S 2C7
The Gardiner Museum is temporarily closed.