20 July 2018
Award winning ceramicist helps mental health service users
People experiencing mental health difficulties, currently
receiving support from Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership
Trust (AWP) have taken part in a ceramics workshop led by award
winning ceramicist and artist Mary Jane Evans. The workshop
explored a new approach to creativity and supporting service users
to attend psychosocial activities within the community.
Whilst on placement with the Bath and North East Somerset
(B&NES) Early Intervention (EI) team student nurse, Hannah
Correy, devised the idea of the workshops with service users
through conversations with those who had expressed an interest in
pottery and ceramics.
In conjunction with mental health support worker, Nat Burgess,
Hannah approached Mary Jane Evans, a resident ceramicist of Bath
Artist Studios and award winning artist. The trio created bespoke
sessions for service users focusing on creativity as an approach to
social engagement and building on the tools gained through
psychosocial activities, rather than creating a therapy session
which includes creative elements.
Mary Jane introduced the group to the world of ceramics and the
making of vases through a technique called slab building, engaging
the service users immediately with the materials and exploring the
creative process with a more tactile hands on approach.
The group was guided through the entire creative process,
including decorating their fired pieces and glazing the finished
product. Service users commented throughout on the level of
guidance, support and insight offered by Mary Jane, and that the
session's emphasis on the social creative aspect was a refreshing
break from the traditional approach to mental health support.
Mary Jane Evans has won a number of awards and prizes in the UK
and Japan, and has exhibited widely throughout the UK including at
The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition and the Royal West of England
Academy on several occasions. She was recently awarded the Pangolin
Prize for Sculpture at The Royal West of England Academy Autumn
Nat Burgess said: "Service users from the group reacted
positively to the session, with individuals expressing how it has
helped equip them with the tools to combat social isolation, and
how it has helped those struggling with ongoing mental health
issues, allowing them to see that though they may be going through
a period of poor mental health they can still remain social and
enjoy shared activities."
The EI team are now looking to expand on their psychosocial
activities by engaging service users in a wider variety of
activities, sessions and events.
"AWP and the EI team would like to extend their thanks to Mary
Jane Evans for her time, expertise and the passion which she
instilled in the group." Nat added.