Making Pottery Can Help Manage Grief and Loss
Sally Brown can be found creating art of some form every day or, if not physically designing a piece of artwork, creative ideas are churning in her mind.
Sally has been making pottery since 1971. A couple times a week she can be found in the basement of the Center for Grief, Loss & Transition on Grand Avenue in St. Paul where her ideas become reality. Over the years, she has helped some clients work through their own grief by teaching them to work with clay and create their own pottery pieces. It began with a young girl whose dad had died; Sally helped her create a spirit house.
“I’m not a therapist but I find pottery therapeutic,” said Sally, who has also taught at the White Bear Center for the Arts and also in Madeline Island. “My brain is always full of ideas.”
Pottery has also been therapeutic for Sally. Her oldest child, Andrew, died unexpectedly in 2003 of an enlarged heart. A freshman in college at the time, he was home visiting his family for the weekend when he died.
A friend of Sally knew of the Center for Grief, Loss & Transition, which is how Sally was first introduced to the Center’s services. It was around this time that Sally’s husband Chris was encouraged to join the Center for Grief’s board of directors, which he was serving on when the Center for Grief merged with FamilyMeans in April 2012.
Sally, who says she finds the Center for Grief buildings “personal and homey”, keeps a bowl of miniature pottery hearts with clients’ names on them at her home. Each heart serves as a reminder of how Sally and the client touched each other’s lives over a brief period of time.