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Creativity Heals: Meditating through clay

“Clay took me over,” said Sarah Geragotelis, an artist whose work shows a strong connection to nature. “I love the earthy materials, metals, copper, stone. But clay was a real gift to me.”

Growing up, Geragotelis’s creativity wasn’t encouraged by her family. Despite their negativity and with the support of her teachers, she majored in art in college. After college, she found success in other careers in New York City, and returned to Connecticut after getting married. Shortly thereafter, her first child was born.

“At the age of 2, my daughter was diagnosed with autism. It was devastating,” said Geragotelis.

She was striving to be a good parent, while learning about autism, and trying to manage daily stress without any nearby family support. Making time for art every day provided some solace.

When her son was also diagnosed with severe autism, Geragotelis realized the importance of taking care of herself. She gravitated to various creative endeavors: illustration, watercolors and jewelry design.

Looking for more instruction, Geragotelis found the Guilford Arts Center online and signed up for some classes. It was there that she discovered clay and evolved as a jewelry-maker and clay sculptor.

“When I was at the Arts Center, I could escape. I could block out my worries and find myself again,” she said.

There, she also discovered her livelihood. Today, she is the owner of Ember Hawk Studios, LLC.

It’s clear that Geragotelis has a strong spiritual connection to her work, and she said clay evolves on its own. When she sits down to start work on a new piece, she doesn’t have a plan. She works the clay in a meditative fashion, allowing her emotions to infuse the work.

“You start with nothing,” she said. “Then a miracle happens, and you have something.”

The process is cathartic for her. She has come to realize that people respond to the emotion of her pieces. In fact, she shared that she was shocked when people first starting buying her work.

Today, Geragotelis and her children are all thriving. Her children, now 17 and 15 years old, are both talented artists as well. Her son has an affinity for graphic design, and her daughter has sold some of her illustrations.

Reflecting on this journey, Geragotelis summed it up in a single sentence. “Art truly has saved me so many times, and in so many ways,” she said.

Emma Palzere-Rae is Associate Director for Artreach, Inc. and founder of Be Well Productions. If you have a story about how creativity has helped you heal, email emma.artreachheals@gmail.com.

Who: Sarah Geragotelis

Town: Waterford

Creative Outlet: Clay and form sculpture

Helpful Resource: https://guilfordartcenter.org/

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