The Benefits of Playing with Doh, Play-Doh

From research throughout my dissertation monograph I found many examples of meditative sculpting and pottery.

An extract from the chapter ‘Mindfulness Craft Practices in my monograph:
Mary Caroline Richards studied at Black Mountain College (1945), the spiritual centre of the post-war avant-garde.  Richard sees the centre of her potter’s wheel as an avenue to be in touch with her inner centre, centring her and practice.  Richards’ research into Zen Buddhism and sculpting has lead her to conclude; “We are transformed, not by adopting attitudes toward ourselves but by bringing into centre all these elements of our sensations and our thinking and our emotions and our will: all the realities of our bodies and our souls”(1989).
Richards’ ideas about her pottery creating a bridge between being and embodiment suggest notions of achieving a state of mindful being through the task, the arts, rather than a state of mindless doing, ensuring to attentively channel our lateral and emotional thoughts into our craft.
I also discovered the Meditative Art School , also in Canada like Black Mountain College:
Meditative Art School (2013) looks at why we create, and how to apply a meditative state of mind to creativity, their approach uses natural materials and tasks such as ‘Earth Sculpting’ are taught. Mud sculpting, in particular, serves as a way to artistically express one’s self, and connects to a deeper understanding of the Earth element. This example here is taught as an Art workshop with the first underlying notion of meditative approaches.
With this information I wanted to take the drawing elements of my practice into a sculptural, palpable form. I purchased for play-doh. Playing with clay and play-doh is known to relief stress, the energy and tight hold can also stimulate less used muscles. The reason I have chosen play-doh and not clay is because I can re-use it and it’s colourful which could be a factor as to what kind of mood I am in, but most importantly it is comforting to me, reminding me of my childhood.




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