How making pottery helped Roger express his grief after the death of his wife.

Roger Womack, one of our Widowed Young Support Befrienders, shares how engaging with pottery and the Japanese art of Kintsugi helped him express his grief.

Suddenly it came crashing to the floor and was broken into a thousand pieces, scattered everywhere, contents spilled. My precious jar! I was left among the pieces.

This was the image that came to mind not long after Teresa died. It had been a seven-year breast cancer journey, but it was still such a shock when she died. Devastating. Everything shattered, hopes, dreams, my life. I was the jar – this was me on the floor.

It wasn’t a small jar, more like a large Grecian water jug about three-foot high. The picture helped me understand, I’m a very pictorial person. Gradually as the days, weeks and months passed pieces of the jar were picked up and put back in place, like a hologram. Sometimes I picked up a piece and put it in place, and sometimes it was someone else. Sometimes, as a Christian, I felt that God picked up the pieces and put them in place too. Often it felt He would grind them back into dust to refashion a shape and place it carefully where it needed to be on the hologram. He is the master potter after all.

Interestingly some years later I started working with clay as a creative experience. I went on a pottery course and absolutely loved it. It was such a physical and expressive experience. I have found that making pottery has helped me to engage with emotions and feelings that were very deep. Just as the process of working with clay is so organic, so is the language and understanding that it brings. There are so many metaphors and analogies that can be applied to our own grief journeys. It has been such a dynamic and enlightening experience learning about clay and potting in general. I have found a truly wonderful way to be creative and express myself.

My jar is very different now. It is still in the process of being reformed, which is something I am able to do with the help of others. Yes, it does have cracks, perhaps it has more value, but to my mind it still leaks … letting out more compassion and love for others who are also walking this grief road.

The Kintsugi master says, ‘Whenever there’s a scar, you paint it with gold and say, “Look at my scar, isn’t it beautiful?” … Repairing the part that can’t be seen is incredibly important.’1


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