How learning ceramics has helped me deal creatively with COVID

As a broadcast journalist for nearly 40 years (yes, I started when I was 6 months old), eight of those years as a police reporter whose daily regimen was heavily dosed with crime and mayhem, I learned to roll with the punches.

My skin is damn thick. But COVID-19 has proven to be my most formidable enemy.

For the first 365 days of the pandemic, I reported stories about nothing but the pandemic. It’s hard to believe we’re rounding the corner for year two and moving on to year three. There wasn’t a single lonely day that I didn’t say the word Covid, even in my spare time, when I was still mostly working. Some of the deaths I covered were people I knew personally. It has been intimidating, stressful, depressing and isolating.

I needed a catch. I needed something therapeutic to occupy my hands and brain to get away from the pressure cooker. And so, I dove into the fire to cool things down. In December 2020 (much to the horror of my husband who is a fire chief) I bought a kiln and decided to learn ceramics.

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What I discovered is that I love clay. I’m not good at it, but that’s okay. I love it.

It turns out that for me clay has amazing healing properties. I get lost in the process. I come up with an idea and spend a weekend figuring out how to make it happen. I love when my friends are thrilled to receive gifts from my ugly ceramics and I love playing, experimenting, creating and yes even failing can be fun when your hands are wrapped around a simple piece of clay.

Ceramics has become my personal Creative Covid stress relief program.

A year after starting my therapeutic clay game, I decided to embark on a gigantic project. I decided to create a ceramic fireplace surround for our cottage. My husband’s only request was that I tell a story of “us” with the tiles. I documented the process. This is my journey.

This four-part series shares my personal and private story, that of my new friend, Clay, and my individual journey to find healing in a time when so much hurts as a journalist.

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I hope you will be inspired to find your own creative therapy. I would also love to hear your stories.

(Paula’s ceramic series is for WDIV initiates, click here to check it)

What creative ways have you found to cope with pandemic life?

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