Working with Clay to Produce Something Unique

Newly built fairy houses waiting for a touch of paint
Newly built fairy houses waiting for a touch of paint

Residents at United’s Garrison Green community put their creativity to work last weekend by using clay to create small fairy houses. A fairy house is a whimsical home for fairies, and provides an interesting decoration for the yard or home.

“We went with fairy houses because they are small and easy to create for all levels of experience working with clay,” said creative facilitator Nicole Bond. “This weekend we’ll be painting the finished houses, firing them in the kiln and glazing them, which will make them nice additions and conversation pieces in the residents’ suites.”

Garrison Green resident Thelma Scheunhage with her fairy house
Garrison Green resident Thelma Scheunhage with her fairy house

Ceramics has become a popular addition to the art studios at both Garrison Green and Fish Creek communities. Even without experience, fascinating projects can be created from a simple ball of clay. “Clay brings us back to the earth,” said Nicole. “It’s taking a raw material and using our imaginations to create something unique. For the fairy houses, I gave the residents a basic plan and then let them use their imaginations to add steps, doors and their own personal touches to their creations. There was a lot of fun and laughter, which really creates a sense of community.”

She noted that it’s wonderful to see the reactions of older adults who may not have used clay before. “Working with clay is an opportunity to try something different, get your hands dirty and leave with a new skill that you might not have tried before,” said Nicole.

“You know, I used to work with clay more than 30 years ago,” said resident Thelma Scheunhage, who moved into Garrison Green two months ago and is taking in as many of the painting and music workshops as she can. “This was a great opportunity to back into working with clay. I put a chimney on top and a flower box on the outside. I’m going to paint it green with a blue roof. Or maybe vice versa. I haven’t decided yet, but it was great fun!”

Louise Dean shapes the perfect roof for her fairy house
Louise Dean shapes the perfect roof for her fairy house

“I loved it!” said resident Louise Dean, who began working with clay when she moved into Garrison Green just over two years ago. “I decided to make my roof curved and to put a clay strip around the outside. Now I’m looking forward to painting it in two shades of brown to look like a tree. I hadn’t made one before. It was great fun!”

The art studios at both communities are staffed by professional artists – creative facilitators who are there to support and encourage residents. The studios offer a wide variety of skill-building workshops, collaborative and conceptual projects, art education sessions and outings to local galleries.

Photos by United Active Living. Videos by Sherana Productions.

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Talk with one of our active living advisors about life in a United community. They can arrange in-person or virtual tours of our Garrison Green and Fish Creek communities. If you know a friend or family member who could benefit from living in a United community, send them a link to our website or blog, or arrange a future visit. We are happy to help! 

To learn more about life at United’s Fish Creek community, watch this short video.

Or, to find out more about life at United’s Garrison Green, watch this short video.

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