The Clay Studio

The Clay Studio is an organisation led by Jo Kemp, a practicing artist and youth worker who has run the studio for the past 3 years.

The project is based in what was the MP3 youth club on Grant Street in the middle of Merkinch. Later the building was run by Arts in Merkinch and since their closure has been run as The Clay Studio.

Jo initially set up the project as a volunteer. Now the studio receives small amounts of funding and income which covers running costs for delivery of community based projects and learning programmes.

In recent years Jo and her resident artists have received a range of training and support from Youth Highland, developing skills and confidence to deliver a range of learning programmes to young people.

Last year Jo began delivering Nationally accredited awards to young people as part of the Scottish Attainment Challenge in partnership with Inverness High School. She has successfully supported more than 30 young people to work on awards.

The clay Studio also delivers 1 – 1 and small group sessions to young people with learning support needs.

At the start of lockdown Jo was really worried and unsure how she could maintain contact with her regular users and the wider community in Merkinch. It would be impossible to continue to help groups to create pieces out of clay and use the kiln to fire work.

However, as the weeks have passed The Clay Studio has risen to the challenge and increased their reach to young people.

Jo has created activity packs for her regular users, and supported them using digital technology to create art pieces and creative projects.

Hundreds of arts and crafts activity kits have also been delivered to other VYN organisations and YH member clubs all over the region. Young people have been asked to upload pictures of their creations so The Clay Studio can create an online gallery of work created by young people.

During lockdown Jo has made some good contacts which will enable her to work with more groups of young people in the future. She is looking forward to meeting young people in person when lockdown eases.

The Clay Studio usually works with individuals or small groups. With the right policies in place to ensure people are kept safe, they are looking forward to welcoming small numbers of people back into the studio to continue working on personal creative challenges through arts learning programmes. For more information about The Clay Studio contact Jo via their social media accounts.

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