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Art Adventurers at Tate St Ives

According to research, 45 minutes of creative activity can significantly reduce stress in the body, regardless of artistic experience or talent. 

We were feeling rather frazzled at the end of a busy week at work and school and with every home appliance on the blink, we were the ideal candidates to test this theory as we signed up to be Art Adventurers at Tate St Ives.  Run as part of the gallery’s Family Sundays programme which provides a range of creative activities for families to do together, Art Adventurers is aimed at 5 to 12 year olds and the theme for this session was Continuous Clay Creatures.

We started off in the galleries where we spotted and sketched animals concealed in the ceramics displays and chatted with the very sweet Axolotl (A Mexican Salamander) who is visiting with the exhibition.  Then it was back to the new Foyle Studio to get squidgy with the clay.  Inspired and assisted by artist, Tim, we made fantastical beasts and friendly wildlife.  As we sculpted, a purposeful atmosphere took over the room – we chatted, admired each other’s efforts, experimented with tools and took pride in our creations.  Finally we put them under a spot light on a catwalk and admired their unusual silhouettes.

By the end of the session, there was a genuine sense of accomplishment and all the family were sporting big smiles. Our six year old twins were thrilled to take home their creations – which have since been remodelled several times – couldn’t wait to write about their experiences in their homework diaries and now are asking about going to a pottery club.  We had used our imagination and hands to create something and it felt good!  As to the stress levels, I certainly felt calmer and happier afterwards.  Maybe it was just finding something we could all do together that involved no squabbling or screens but I defy anyone not to feel a sense of tranquillity when they sit in the minimalist studio space and let loose with colour or texture.  And yes having someone clear up after us probably helped restore equilibrium too.

We loved:

  • having calm, focussed and fun family time together
  • asking questions and getting tips from a professional artist
  • getting messy (just our hands!) with slippery clay

The sessions, which are funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, are free with entry for all the family.  Advance booking is recommended through as places are limited. Bookings open on the Monday before the event. Suitable for 5-12 year olds.

Next events:

18th June – Geometric shape shifting activities inspired by the work of Ben Nicholson

16th July – details to follow

Part of Tate St Ives Family Sundays which happen monthly throughout the summer.

Author: Fiona Wotton, Cornwall 365 Director.