Inspirations Studio is a non-profit, low-barrier ceramics program for women who have experienced marginalization. For over 27 years the organization has had a steadfast mission to help improve women’s lives through the making and selling of pottery.
Recently, Inspirations Studio has moved to a new storefront and studio at 389 Church Street. The space is part of a newly-renovated building that provides affordable and supportive housing for women who’ve been impacted by homelessness.
“Our new space is a dream come true! It is big and bright with large windows facing onto Church street. It is a great spot where we can welcome the community into our store to buy gifts that give back to the community. 80% of each sale goes directly to the maker,” says Director Gudrun Olafsdottir. “We are also very grateful to the YWCA for including us here on the main floor of newly renovated building that provides affordable and supportive housing for women.”
The Studio’s core mission is to contribute to improving women’s lives through the making and selling of pottery. “Working with clay is an inherently healing and therapeutic activity. There is something about the fact that it comes from the earth and its tactile nature,” says Gudrun. “Working in the pottery wheel requires complete focus it is almost like a meditation where you empty your mind and all you can think about is working with the clay. The first step in making something on the pottery wheel is called centering the clay, which is the perfect metaphor.”
Through creative, therapeutic and skill-building work, women gain self-confidence and stability while connecting to community, gaining a source of supplemental income, and finding a new way to engage with the world as makers. Art—and clay in particular— can bring change and offer healing, while giving people purpose, pride, passion and joy.
“My favourite part of the job is to observe as women walk though our doors not ever having tried pottery and become passionate about the work and determined to get good at it. It takes a lot of hard work, practice and perseverance to get good at this. The best day is when a woman who has worked hard finally places her work in our store and a customer comes in and chooses her piece. Transformational!”
On December 11 and 12, from 12-5PM, Inspirations Studio will host their annual holiday market and open house. The public is welcome to celebrate the new studio, meet the makers, and buy gifts that give back to the community.