Ceramic Art Therapy

Soldiers returning home from Iraq or Afghanistan have seen some unimaginable things. Although many of these young men and women are returning to their hometowns to heroes’ welcomes, under the glory and celebration are painful memories of the horrors of war. Places like the Abu Ghraib prison are not part of most United States citizens’ memories, but these horrible places may be memories keeping our returning soldiers up at night. We need to recognize that our countries newest veterans have young and impressionable minds that will need help readjusting to their once familiar neighborhoods. Many types of therapies are used to help returning soldiers, but an easy therapy that is relatively inexpensive to initiate is to use clay.People who create sculptures have the ability to build something, make something new. This is the exact opposite of the soldier in battle who is destroying the environment and the enemies around him or her. Sculpting allows the returning soldier the chance to be a creator. Plus, he or she can use detail tools like glaze chalk to add color to his or her creation. Creatively bringing a figure of beauty and color into the world can be extremely therapeutic.Local communities might tie into their American Legions and Veterans of Foreign Wars to help create ceramic art centers for returning soldiers. Local art teachers might be willing to donate time and things like clay making lesson plans to bring a therapeutic art program together. The bonus is that the community receives the joy of working together to help their beloved returning heroes.Some of the returning soldiers may feel so comfortable with the ceramic arts that it could lead to a new hobby, or even career. Those interested in ceramic art education will find that many art schools are very willing to work with former soldiers, and money through the Armed Forces (G.I. Bill) will be helpful in fulfilling a new artist’s dream.

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