New Economics Foundation: nef

nef are a think tank that looks at economy, society and environment and looks to develop new ways of integrating economy, society and environment.  The new-old word, ‘wellbeing’, has been the subject of one of their reports.  The report has specifically looked at wellbeing in the workplace and is available at here but their focus is to make our working lives a fulfilling experience.  Since we spend so much of our lives at work this is more important than ever!  Their key points;

Improving well-being at work requires a more rounded approach that focusses on helping employees to:

  • Strengthen their personal resources
  • Flourish and take pride in their roles within the organisational system
  • Function to the best of their abilities, both as individuals and in collaboration with their colleagues
  • Have a positive overall experience of work

It’s and interesting study because attempts to measure wellbeing in a way that is relevant to us all.  To what extent do you feel your your workplace encourages your own wellbeing?  Let me know

Clay happiness:  Narratives Between Terra, Humanity and Environment  Article by Heekyung Lee

Clay happiness: Narratives Between Terra, Humanity and Environment Article by Heekyung Lee

“William Morris (1834-1896)…pointed out that the process of making something of their own will stimulates people’s happiness. As archaeology shows, humans have been creating numerous types of art in the process of bringing out and expressing their wishes related to their well-being, to a variety of materials, thus, releasing themselves from the anxieties and insecurities they felt from their environment. One of the most frequently used was clay.”

This review of a show that focuses on terracotta in ceramic Art and Perception is really poignant for me right now. So if William Morris was ok with clay and wellbeing, who is to say it needs to be hidden away and conceptualised in a post-modern anxiety?

This takes us right back to the beginning about art and wellbeing for me. The two are so integrated for me it’s a no-brainer. It doesn’t mean there is no rigour in reflection and the endless reinvention possible with clay, a material that endures through the whole of civilisation, is foremost. To share this, how amazing!

Of course my regular visits to the British Museum lately are no coincidence to these reflections, maybe??


Making storage pots – when is it made?

   skull2 British Museum crystal skull

So, when was it made?  This is a quartz crystal skull that sits in the British Museum (Room 24).  Apparently it is 19th century.  I am not sure that a piece of quartz can be dated to the 19th century, given that quartz takes a LONG time to form in the body of the planet, but it DOES provoke an interesting question for me.  The maker of the skull had an influence on the piece of quartz – they were ‘the maker’.  When is something made?  What is making?

Relating that to clay, of course, I know that the material I use in my practice is manufactured from natural minerals found in the earth.  It is prepared for me and I buy it from a supplier.  It’s a question of sustainability, for sure, but it is also a question of my influence over the ‘blob’ of clay that sits in front of me on a daily basis.  I am the maker.

This is very curious for me right now.  A question that I always seem to return to.  Perhaps that’s why I am ‘making storage pots’ ??