Relax and unwind with clay
Do you need a place you can go to escape the stresses of everyday life, where you can really unwind and tap into your creativity?
Say hello to Newcastle’s brand new clay studio and gallery, The Art Department.
The brainchild of Zoré Scholz, The Art Department aims to be an inclusive, accessible space for people from all walks of life who want to try their hand at ceramics.
The desire to open her own pottery studio was inspired by Zoré’s experience with art therapy when she was recovering from cancer.
“After I did a chemotherapy session, I would go to the pottery studio near my house in Sydney. The owner would let me sit in a room, with a wheel, and I could just make things. I remember walking home and saying to my husband that I felt instantly rejuvenated,” Zoré said.
Zoré chose the name as an homage to her background working in the art department of advertising agencies, and to the now closed art department at the University of Newcastle, where Zoré completed her Fine Arts degree.
The classes at The Art Department are for any age and any level of experience. From Thursday to Sunday, the studio hosts Clay and Sip classes, where you can relax and get messy while making your own clay creations. There’s mezze boards, wine and non-alcoholic drink options provided to accompany your class.
The studio also offers a hand building and a wheel throwing workshop, both of which run for five weeks each and allow you to get a little more practice with clay.
Kids can get involved too, with Zoré offering a Kids Pottery Workshop taught by local ceramic artists. Each participant can get their hands dirty on the wheel as well as making some hand-built shapes, ultimately making one piece to paint and take home.
Older children don’t have to miss out either, with a Clay and Play workshop for kids aged 12 and above who want to get messy with clay.
The Art Department also functions as a gallery where artists can exhibit their works – Zoré especially wants to focus on providing pathways for emerging artists. Whether you’re an art enthusiast or just want a break from the outside world, the gallery at The Art Department is a space made to inspire. All works are available to purchase too, if you’re thinking of adding to your collection.
As well as envisioning The Art Department as a welcoming place for people to experience the therapeutic effects of working with clay, Zoré hopes the studio can add to the thriving artist community in Newcastle.
“The reason why I chose Newcastle CBD for The Art Department is because I wanted the streetfront. I wanted people to be able to walk past and see. It helps make it easily accessible. I’ve had so much exposure just from being here and setting it up. It’s really open and inclusive.”
While Zoré herself will not be teaching at The Art Department, it’s her own experience and passion for ceramics that has helped establish the studio.
“I won’t be teaching, but I have a vested interest. Because I went through something where I saw the benefits of art therapy, I saw the outcomes… It’s doing something with your hands, it’s tangible, it’s touch,” she said.
“Chuck some clay on, get your hands dirty, make something. Whatever comes of it, comes of it.”