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Creating with Clay Kit Review by Kelly Burgess and Wendy Robertson

Lisa Hartensveld
Creating with Clay, LLC
P.O. Box 102
Wyckoff, NJ 07481

This Keepsake Bowl kit is truly A Pottery Class in a Bag! It includes a 21-minute instructional DVD, a single pouch of air-dry clay, two colors of acrylic paints, clay tools, vinyl powder-free gloves, a paint brush, wax paper, and a flower embellishment, all tucked inside a lovely drawstring bag. There’s also a laminated card inside that introduces you to the kit and provides written instructions. Everything you need is right there, so there are no addition materials needed from home. This kit can be ordered for just $16 plus shipping. There are also other purchasing options that include enough clay and materials for multiple participants. This product is intended for children ages 5-12 with adult supervision, older children, and adults.

Right away, my 11-year old daughter, Haylee, was drawn into the video. The teacher did an excellent job of making her feel like she was right there in a class, getting one-on-one instruction. As she watched and worked alongside the instructor, she spoke up to tell me that she loved how well the video flowed. The teacher gave her sufficient time to follow along with her own project so that it wasn’t necessary to stop and pause the video in order to catch up. The instructor worked on the project at the same time, which ensured Haylee could keep up with the pace. She liked that a lot.

The project does not require baking or a pottery wheel. Only the pinch-pot method is used, making it a simple project for anyone and not just the artistically inclined student. Haylee was able to make a small but beautiful fluted pot that made me think of an opened flower. She let it air dry and painted it red and blue with the included paints. There was also a small peel-and-stick felt flower embellishment with a jewel in the center that she adhered in the bottom of the pot as a final detail. She was so proud of her finished project!

Haylee was so excited about the whole process that she asked if she could get more kits for her birthday this month! I checked the website and discovered that they offer three other designs: a "Birdhouse," a "Swan," and a "Butterfly Bowl." I think any of these kits would make an excellent gift! I could also see it being a relaxing activity for any adult, as well. The website mentions that it’s also recommended as a therapeutic activity for those in nursing or rehab facilities.

I would highly recommend these Creating with Clay Kits to anyone! And when you’ve finished your project, you’ll have a lasting keepsake, as well.

-Product review by Kelly Burgess, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, September, 2016

And Another Review:

Creating with Clay, LLC has come up with a way to combine physical therapy with pottery. It’s a very unique take on a fairly “mainstream” product, and one that works very well.

In order to facilitate this review, I received a single Creating with Clay Kit, which includes:

❖         A pouch of self-drying clay

❖         Acrylic paints (2) and a paintbrush

❖         Wooden clay tools

❖         Disposable gloves

❖         Wax paper for allowing the clay to dry

❖         A sticker

❖         An instructional DVD

❖         A cloth drawstring bag to hold it all

You’ll need to provide for yourself a sheet of paper to protect your table and a glass of water.

To begin the project, simply open the pouch of clay, insert the DVD into any DVD player near your work area, and follow along with creator Lisa as she walks you through making your own clay pot using the “pinch pot” method. The DVD is well done and professional looking all the way through. The background music, which plays during the entire video, is very calming and soothing. Lisa’s instructions are very clear; it’s really easy to make the pot following her instructions in the 20-minute video.

She starts with physical therapy hand exercises. Even though I don’t need them at this point, I did them along with her anyway. They were a good way to warm up my fingers and tendons to prepare for creating my pot. Once that’s done, we moved on to the clay. I enjoyed working with this clay; it was very malleable and I didn’t have any problems manipulating it into the shape I wanted at all. If yours comes and it’s a little dry, though, it’s easy to “fix” it: just add a touch of water and it’ll return to its original glory.

The video takes you all the way through the painting of your pinch pot, and includes instructions for making simple design or embellishing it to look like a flower. For a super creative type, it would also be pretty easy to make it into something even more elaborate. I did mine flower-like (it ended up looking like a daffodil without the stem when I was done).

Creating with Clay, LLC was born when Lisa, the founder, decided to take her passion (pottery) to places like rehabilitation centers and nursing homes to work with patients in what she calls “therapeutic pottery.” The Creating with Clay Kit came later, when she had clients asking if they could take some of her supplies to their friends and relatives at home. She decided to take this request a step further and created the take-home kit, including the instructional DVD that allows people to get the benefit of the class right from their very own home.

I liked this product a lot. The kit was very well put together. Outside of the table covering and water that I mentioned earlier, everything was included. I didn’t find myself having to stop the video to run out for something that was necessary but not included at all. It was very convenient to just grab my bag and move into the office with the DVD player for a few minutes of quiet time while I created my clay pot. The instructional video was very clear and pleasant. I was never wondering what I was supposed to be doing.

I would like to see a streaming option for the instructional video on the company website (or YouTube or another similar video hosting site). Some people don’t have DVD players handy anymore, in this age of streaming digital media (my family being one; I had to find some time to have alone in my husband’s office because his computer is the only DVD player in our home). Having that available somewhere online would have made this product even better for me.

The other thing I’d like to see added at some point is information on the drying of the clay. I know it’s pretty obvious (put it out on the table or counter and leave it alone until it’s dry), but some sort of estimated timeline for how long that takes, what the best kind of room (temperature wise, breezy or still, etc) is, and general drying information for their clay would be very helpful.

After using this product to make a pot, I can definitely see how it would be beneficial to people who are using physical therapy to recover from hand or wrist surgery. It works up easily, but with enough resistance to make it good for working those tendons and getting them back into shape. I would definitely recommend this product for those situations. I can also see this product being a fun idea for a children’s birthday party. They offer bulk discounts for sets of 2, 5, or 10 kits.

-Product review by Wendy Robertson, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, September, 2016