Studio on the Hill: Speaking with Clay
For Sister Helen Kluke, Ministry Director and Teacher at Studio on the Hill, pottery sessions are a unique experience for each person. “I think that we can use clay to speak from our hearts.” Studio on the Hill is part of Fontbonne Ministries.
In recent years, different organizations have contacted Sister Helen for retreat days and group pottery sessions at Studio on the Hill. Some groups have been for women aided by Street Haven. Recently, a group of Jesuits from Cardoner House attended. And some are friends seeking reflection over clay.
Sister Helen offers retreats in two formats. In the format called Journey of the Clay, she gives the participants three presentations on the different stages of clay. “I talk about how clay starts as a crumbling mountain and journeys to becoming a work of art.” After each presentation, participants work with clay in silence. “Instead of using words,” says Sister Helen, “the participants let clay speak through their hands.” In another format, Prayer and Leisure, the studio is filled with soft music and candlelight as the participants sculpt in a serene atmosphere.
“It’s peaceful,” says Sister Helen, “and everyone can approach clay with what feels right for them.” Some make bowls or vases, some make figurines and others do abstract pieces. “In the calm and tranquility,” says Sister Helen, “people can come into contact with their deeper selves.”