Community Kindness with a Clay Table

Whilst on holiday in Amsterdam a few years ago the hotel I stayed at showcased local artists.  One of the foyer pieces was a Claytable by Erwin Zwiers.  I thought this particular piece of art was a great way of engaging communities and enabled kindness to spread.

Hotel guests were actively encouraged to carve into the claytable and leave ‘a piece of art behind’. Every month the staff would photograph the table top before smoothing the surface for new guests. After some further investigation I found the artists website and learnt that his definition of the table is as follows:

The Claytable can be used in many different ways. The attractiveness of the surface of clay works for children and adults. All tend to touch the clay and play with it. Because of its big attraction, the clay table could be an ideal product for public spaces. For example for a dentist waiting room, waiting rooms/rooms to play in hospitals, schools and nurseries, or brainstorm areas in companies. In addition, the Claytable can also be used for children and adults with mental or physical limitations to stimulate different senses. In short, there are enough possibilities and applications for this table.

Dimensions : 1600 X 800 X 750 mm ( L X B X H )

When I spoke to the hotel staff they confirmed that other establishments had brought the Claytable too as it helped vulnerable people engage with others and was considered therapeutic. Claytables were successful in hospitals, schools, care centres, and retirement homes.  People came together to develop on each other’s art; playing with the clay helped to calm agitated people down, built relationships, broke down barriers of communication, through making something with the clay.

I thought this would be a fab idea for local care centres and nurseries in my local community. I pitched the idea, gained support but failed to achieve the funding to buy any tables.  The timing was all wrong, the NHS had just launched the national ‘Catch it, Bin it, Kill it’ campaign and those with the money feared the clay could spread bugs and germs.

If you think one of these tables could benefit your community, I strongly suggest looking at Erwin’s website and contacting him for a quote.

Mark Twain Kindness


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