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Clay as an Expressive Medium

Friday, 15 November 2013 08:00  by Allison A.

For those of you who gravitate towards more constructive, 3D projects, clay may be a great medium for you. Clay is so simple, yet its possibilities are endless in the forms it can take.

Clay is powerful because it takes us right down to the interaction of our body with earth—we are molding, shaping, adding, subtracting and imprinting. We have a direct, physical, human effect on the clay, and it is something that is malleable and controllable. We are able to let go of our thoughts, feel our feelings, and be in the moment, just shaping and creating.

Clay facilitates emotional expression and also regression. We may feel our feelings deeper or use it to play and get dirty. It also enables symbols to appear, reaching into our unconscious selves to reveal our inner wishes, desires, thoughts, and feelings.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Additive sculpture: Creating a form and adding pieces onto it (see glossary terms under “score and slip” to learn how to do this)
  • Subtractive sculpture: Creating a form and taking bits away from it, most easily with a tool
  • Expressing a feeling you have been struggling with lately such as depression or anxiety
  • Creating a container for your emotions

You will find a glossary of terms here:


You may also find inspiration from the Ceramic Arts website at

Last modified on Thursday, 14 November 2013 22:00

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