The Kohler South Korea team organizes monthly stewardship activities for associates. The activity in March was bringing mentally challenged people from health institutions to a pottery to experience the material of clay and to let the artistic expression reign. A pottery center in Asan-si, a city about two and a half hours by train away from Seoul, received the group of disabled youth and young adults and the Kohler Novita associates to hold clay, test creating different shapes, and have fun with the material in the workshop. Research from the medical community has shown that the work with clay has transformative potential and is more often integrated into mental health programs these days. The tactile experience provides healing effects, an altered meditative state, a deeper sense of relaxation and well-being. The users become enveloped in the creativity of shaping, molding, and spinning the clay which is essentially a type of soil. The primal experience of touch provides an emotional creative engagement. Pottery as a physical practice opens up ways to communicate through the sculptural form without the use of verbal language and new perspectives in the development of motor skills and sensory expression. The repetitive motion of turning and rolling the clay instills balance and a calming effect. The participants certainly had a lot of fun to poke, twist, and pinch the clay that day. In collaboration with each other, the clay and the atmosphere of the pottery center gave a feeling of great freedom and awakened spirits. The group marveled at the smell of the material when it is wet and the sound it makes when one smacks it on the table top. There is no wrong way in the artistic creation and the results of butterflies, snakes, and beautiful bowls speak for itself. The group almost wished that the activity had lasted longer than one day but agreed to return soon for more practice with the clay.
Pottery and ceramics are important parts of our work. Fantastic pieces like the Artist Editions Derring as well as products such as Abrazo freestanding bathtubs have pottery work as their basis. Many of the artists that Kohler supports through the Arts/Industry program and the Bold. Art. program explore the medium of clay and pottery.