-Hoathly Hill Sculpture Studio-
This studio space has existed for many years at Hoathly Hill. It is a place where anyone is welcome who wants to try get their hands, heart and head active. Different people of all ages, abilities and needs enjoy themselves creating in clay, stone, wood or try drawing. The atmosphere is warm, supportive, nurturing and inclusive. All abilities are accepted, and everyone works at their own pace. No time pressure, provides relaxation, comfort and self-affirmation.
Some people who come to the studio are complete beginners who have never tried to do any sculpture, but who have always dreamed of it. Others may have some experience from their school years and want to try it again. There are some that feel drawn to the studio, to express themselves in the three dimensions and others feel it gives them connection to themselves which has been damaged through trauma or other inabilities. In fact, to touch clay and connect to the earth element, feels good, providing grounding and can also be empowering.
Coming through the door and seeing what other people have achieved may be daunting for some and might take courage to come and learn to accept one’s own little steps without comparing one’s own work with others. People who come to the studio are accepting and encouraging of visitors and new people to the studio. No one needs to be a master as it is a journey of discovering form, oneself and the world anew.
People start to see forms in nature. How a bud of a tree branch or flower unfolds, what shapes flowers have, the shapes of bushes or trees, the formation of landscapes — as in the rolling hills of the South Downs. People learn to see and how to look at sculptures or any art. They will experience movement of form, energies, expressions and many more things. Through new eyes, the world may begin to look different. We encourage connection with nature and its extraordinarily different expressions. After all we are also shaped through natural forces.
Sculptures can express representational shapes like that of a torso, or animal or they can be non-representational. It is an exploration and conversation, a listening to the creative force within us, something that may be hidden and wants to be discovered.
Over time a supportive and diverse cultural community has formed in which everyone is accepted and can feel part of the human warmth experienced at the studio.
In a time where isolation is a challenge, and for some depression and anxiety a concern, sculpture can contribute to better health and wellbeing, and improved better quality of life.
A report about research done by World Health Organization (WHO) says that arts can help improve our mental and physical health. (12. November 2019)
Maria Albiez, RATh, Dip. Art Therapist, Sculptor and Supervisor. She has also a diploma in remedial education and worked for many years with children and adults with special needs.
Since 1997 she is co-director of the studio working both as artist and tutor. She also maintains an art therapy practice and has worked in clinics and hospital.
Dorothea Kuth, trained nurse and Waldorf teacher, Dip. sculpture training and does art therapy training for schools. Since 2018, she is co-director of the studio working as artist, tutor and working with children, home schooling, learning and developmental challenges and after school care.
For more information visit the studio website.
I have been a student with Maria at the Sculpture Studio for over 3 years.
This has been a safe space for me to give birth to my creative self.
Pushing clay I have discovered, is a deeply meditative process and I have found the whole experience wonderfully therapeutic.
The studio (and all who attend) benefit significantly from Marias' work at the Tobias school of Art and Therapy. One consequence is that there is a regular stream of visiting international students which does provide a truly varied range of artistic insight and promotes healthy discussion of current work.
Maria also shares her wisdom with some students who have specific challenges and I have found working in this environment to be particularly helpful. They have, through quiet example, taught me how to focus on my work and to have clarity and confidence in my emotional expression.
For me, this is a healing environment, safe for any and all.
What does the sculpture studio mean to me? A big question with many answers, but I will try to answer it as best I can. Right at the beginning it was the space and opportunity to create my own sculptural pathway and develop my own themes and form in an atmosphere of acceptance and encouragement.
Now, after more than 20 years it is more about the wonderful companionship with likeminded friends and the empowering crosscurrent of ideas, comment, and suggestion which enables me to continue going forward.
My studio visit is the pivot around which my week turns and I look forward to the warmth smiles and welcome when I open the door. The lively discussions over coffee which range from the mundane to the deeply philosophical keep my mind working, pondering and alive.
The studio is where I feel more at home then almost anywhere else, where I feel valued, supported and relaxed.