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clay for business executives?

updated thu 7 dec 00

 

Jenny Lewis on mon 4 dec 00


Hi all

Two of the people I work with run courses for senior executives, and inco=
rporate activities that relate creativity to management and leadership an=
d strategy and various business topics. They have done drawing and actin=
g, and listened to an orchestra rehearsing, all sorts of lovely things. =
So, naturally, I am now trying to think of a pottery related activity tha=
t I could suggest to the powers that be.

However, even before I think of a business management connection, I have =
practical problems - don=92t have my own kiln, and don=92t have access to=
a reliable one. The programmes last for 4 weeks, but they do LOTS of ot=
her stuff and the creativity sections take up a relatively small amount o=
f the time. So I have to think of: using the minimum amount of equipmen=
t (preferably none!), not too much mess, ha ha is that possible, and almo=
st instant results. Is there any type of =93grown up=94 air-hardening cl=
ay that could be used, that doesn=92t need firing? (as opposed to colour=
ful Das or Fymo?)

I=92m still musing on ideas for what the participants could do, that woul=
d relate to Management, Strategy, Leadership Qualities, perhaps problem s=
olving - my first thoughts are along the lines of using something so basi=
c without any modern technology or other help - pinch pots, coils - but m=
ainly to get them to play with clay, and regard it as important!

Has anyone ever done anything remotely like this before? And do you thin=
k it=92s a truly lousy idea or does it have potential?

Thanks in advance for any thoughts,

jl
in WET and windy London
no problem with pots drying out too quickly these days=85.

Snail Scott on mon 4 dec 00


Laguna has several air-hardening clay=20
bodies that look just like regular clay -=20
earthy, not plasticky. I don't have a=20
clue how they work; but I know people=20
who use them with kids' programs and=20
such. More expensive than regular clay,
but much, much cheaper than Fimo.

-Snail



At 05:28 PM 12/4/00 +0000, you wrote:
>Hi all
>
>Two of the people I work with run courses for senior executives, and
incorporate activities that relate creativity to management and leadership
and strategy and various business topics. They have done drawing and
acting, and listened to an orchestra rehearsing, all sorts of lovely
things. So, naturally, I am now trying to think of a pottery related
activity that I could suggest to the powers that be.
>
>However, even before I think of a business management connection, I have
practical problems - don=92t have my own kiln, and don=92t have access to a
reliable one. The programmes last for 4 weeks, but they do LOTS of other
stuff and the creativity sections take up a relatively small amount of the
time. So I have to think of: using the minimum amount of equipment
(preferably none!), not too much mess, ha ha is that possible, and almost
instant results. Is there any type of =93grown up=94 air-hardening clay tha=
t
could be used, that doesn=92t need firing? (as opposed to colourful Das or
Fymo?)
>
>I=92m still musing on ideas for what the participants could do, that would
relate to Management, Strategy, Leadership Qualities, perhaps problem
solving - my first thoughts are along the lines of using something so basic
without any modern technology or other help - pinch pots, coils - but
mainly to get them to play with clay, and regard it as important!
>
>Has anyone ever done anything remotely like this before? And do you think
it=92s a truly lousy idea or does it have potential?
>
>Thanks in advance for any thoughts,
>
>jl
>in WET and windy London
>no problem with pots drying out too quickly these days=85.
>
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Milton Markey on tue 5 dec 00


Hi Jenny!

Some time ago, I saw an article about a clay artist taking a portable Raku
kiln to workshops, and leading a mug-making session with clergymen and church
officials in the USA. I'll look this one up, and report about it in the near
future. I'm certain that this can be adapted for business men and women.

Sometimes, just allowing folks unfamiliar with clay to squeeze, pinch, and
feel the clay's moistness and warmth helps calm and relax the mind. I know of
an art therapist who relaxes her clients using a meditation technique, linked
with touching clay.

I think using artificial clays (the "non-firing" variety) isn't as effective
as using real ordinary clays. Clay can be reused, once the sessions are
complete. Or if the art created during the workshop is to be fired, it can be
transformed from one state to another, with the participants observing this
transformation.

Yes, I recommend using clay in your workshops. Unfired or not, the clay is an
important metaphor for the earth, and getting "grounded." I hope you can find
a place, or make a portable kiln, to fire finished projects. The
transformation process (raw clay being hardened by fire) is also a metaphor
for growth and maturity.

I'll look up the article. I think it was in the Journal Of Art Therapy,
published by the University of Vermont.

Best wishes!

Milton NakedClay@AOL.COM

Beth Donovan on tue 5 dec 00


I sometimes bring lots of different colors of Sculpy to long project
meetings and throw it all in the middle of the conference table. People
grab some and start playing with it while we are working out problems and I
really think it is helpful in keeping tempers down and attitudes positive.
Sometimes, we even end up with some silly sculptures which I'll bring home
and bake and return to the 'artist'. People like it. I work in a start-up
telecom and pressure is really high and sometimes tempers really flare up.
Having something to be creative with really seems to open minds to new
ideas. Keeps folks calmer, more reflective.

Beth in Leavenworth

Jeremy McLeod on wed 6 dec 00


> Iím still musing on ideas for what the participants could do, that would relate to Management, Strategy, Leadership Qualities, perhaps problem solving - my first thoughts are along the lines of using something so basic without any modern technology or other help - pinch pots, coils - but mainly to get them to play with clay, and regard it as important!
>
> Has anyone ever done anything remotely like this before? And do you think itís a truly lousy idea or does it have potential?

This is an idea very similar to one I'm cookin' on as well. I'm less than objective, therefore, but do really feel that the relationship between self-awareness and playing in the mud is very strong.

My own journey in this realm was and is enriched by early on having read M.C. Richards' "Centering in Poetry, Pottery, and Person". Perhaps you'll enjoy that book as well. You also might run a pilot project. Find a few business-oriented friends who would work with you in a "test workshop", and give you feedback about what was helpful and what wasn't. Part of the model I'm working on includes one-on-one and group reflection sessions in which the workshop participant gets to reflect on the connections between the experience with the clay and their lives (or businesses?).

I trust you'll make this happen. It's a fantastic idea (he said without any objectivity whatsoever!)

Jeremy McLeod