Thamasin is 51 years old and lives in the N4 area. She is top-end dyslexic. When she was 39, she lost her mobility and had to learn how to walk again. By 50, she was disabled and unable to work. Her doctor suggested that she take up an art hobby to improve her mental outlook. Since then, she has been a member of the Ceramics class at the Redmond Community Centre and has successfully completed NCFE Levels 1 and 2.
Kate from Manor House Development Trust catches up with her to find out how she “fell in love with clay”.
Clay is such an inclusive material, in age, ethnicity, physical and mental ability and language.
It is a material every person will have experience of. So many things are made of clay, like everyday objects we all use in our homes. It is essentially mud and a child’s instinct to play with it doesn’t really leave you, so sharing that same excitement with children is very uplifting.
Clay is also very do-able. You don’t need to be able to write or speak or exert your body. As long as you have some level of hand mobility, you will be able to do it.
Being able to turn a lump of clay into something practical you can actually use is incredibly empowering.
What have you liked most about this class?
It has given me the opportunity to meet a diverse range of people you otherwise wouldn’t have met. Many languages are spoken in the class, including Mandarin and Italian. It is a very social event, where we have built strong friendships. I have learned so much just by talking to people and swapping stories.
What difference has joining this pottery class made to you?
The benefits to my health have been extraordinary.
It has helped me to break a cycle of depression I suffered as a result of becoming disabled. Pain is subjective, and by perceiving pain in a more positive way, I have found that I am more able to cope with it.
It is easy when you are physically disabled to focus on the things you cannot do. But playing with clay is something I know I can do.
What are your plans for the future?
For the first time, I feel ready to return to work.
I now rent a studio where I intend to use my pottery skills to set up a new business. I was offered the opportunity to enrol on a PTLLS (Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector) course for free at the Redmond Community Centre. Now I have completed it, I can teach others my skills.
Where are you off to now?
I am going to go and play with some clay.
Ceramics classes every Wednesday and Thursday at the Redmond Community Centre. For more information contact reception at the Redmond Community Centre on 020 8802 7580 or call Tunde Akinniranye on 07984 456210