The Melville Mud Room

Providing a safe creative space to find your way with clay

We offer regular classes, one-on-one clay sessions, group events and family creative time from our pottery studio in Melville, Johannesburg. Clay provides infinite possibilities to explore, create, play, heal and to gently let go of preconceptions of ourselves and limiting self-attitudes.

OUR Story

Sisters Kate and Nina Shand both have a long journey with clay – Nina ran a successful wood-firing pottery studio in McGregor for the past 25 years, and Kate started finding her way with clay a decade ago. Clay has been a lifeline to both sisters during times of immense trauma and grief. Through clay, being in touch with the earth, a most elemental and primal process of transforming the earth into a ceramic object takes place. It is healing – touching the clay, forming the clay, having the clay touch back. Clay slows us down. It calms us. We touch the clay and the clay touches us. The clay reveals you to yourself – for Kate it’s about her resilience, creativity, ability to explore and play – but also her impatience, “I make imperfect vessels and I like my creations to expose the story of the making”.

Cornelia Elbrecht writes “Follow your hands! Your hands know the way; in your head you will just stay in the known; in order to explore the unknown and find new ground, you need to trust your hands and follow the impulses in them…”

“It is the pots we are forming, yes. And it is ourselves as well”
- MC Richards

Bio

Nina not only has 25 years’ experience making functional and sculptural ceramics, she is also a researcher with a Master’s in industrial sociology. She has facilitated numerous pottery and firing workshops at Millstone Pottery and has exhibited locally and overseas. She makes hand-built, slabbed forms, often from one slab of clay, which are cut with various darts/pleats, resembling dress making patterns. Nina plans to introduce alternative firing techniques to the Melville Mud Room.

Kate is an art therapist with an MA Art Therapy from the University of Johannesburg. She has facilitated many arts-based workshops over the years. She is passionate about working with clay and its ability to heal. Other qualifications include a Masters in Heritage (Wits), Advanced Diploma Visual Art (Unisa), and Community Art Counsellor (Lefika la Phodiso).
  • Certified Creative Grief Practitioner - Creative Grief Studio
  • BA HONS Art Therapy - University of Johannesburg
  • Masters in Heritage - University of the Witwatersrand
  • Advanced Diploma Visual Art - Unisa
  • Community Art Counsellor - Lefika la Phodiso
  • Working with Groups (year one) - Ububele
  Certified Creative Grief Practitioner - Creative Grief Studio BA HONS Art Therapy - University of Johannesburg Masters in Heritage - University of the Witwatersrand Advanced Diploma Visual Art - Unisa Community Art Counsellor - Lefika la Phodiso Working with Groups (year one) - Ububele

CLASSES

We work from our studio in Melville, Johannesburg, providing a safe, creative space for adults and teenagers to find their way with clay. We offer weekly pottery classes, on Monday and Wednesday evenings (6 to 8.30pm), Tuesday mornings (10am to 12.30pm) and Tuesday afternoons (3 to 5.30pm) and Saturday mornings (9.30am to 12pm). One-on-one sessions, group events and family time can be arranged.
Use the contact form below for more details
  • Creative grief support sessions – These can take place in person or online.
  •  
  • Clay sessions – I have a love for clay and its healing benefits, and offer individual healing clay sessions.
  •  
  • Occasional workshops - I offer workshops in doll making and clay experiences.
  •  
  Creative grief support sessions – These can take place in person or online. Clay sessions – I have a love for clay and its healing benefits, and offer individual healing clay sessions. Occasional workshops - I offer workshops in doll making and clay experiences.  

WHY CLAY?

The enjoyment of clay is innate. We need only look to infants who, as soon as they are able, grasp soft objects. A toddler delights in pounding playdough and young children gravitate towards wet soil which they transform into mud pies. As adults we forget to have fun, and clay allows us to laugh at our spectacular flops and delight in our mini-masterpieces. Best of all, the messiness of clay means we cannot multi-task. Between the slips and clay, there is no room for an electronic device, there is however plenty of room for you to explore and create.

Even seemingly small creative acts can have as much impact as bigger acts of art making. In the words of Kurt Vonnegut "To practice any art no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow". When we are creative, we get to engage with challenging questions in a way that is non-threatening and doesn’t require the effort of a verbal answer.

To this end, Kate offers individual one-and-a-half hour art therapy sessions with clay. These sessions are particularly beneficial for people who are significantly bereaved. The cost is R1200 per session, including materials and firings.

Contact

For more information or to book a session please email me using the contact form.
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram