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A Newfound Talent

Coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, Zayne wanted something creative and meaningful to do. He has autism and ADHD, and the pandemic was especially hard without a routine or much social interaction.

In the fall of 2022, Zayne and his mother, Tiffany, saw that the Newberry Arts Center was offering an introductory pottery class. Neither of them had ever taken pottery before, or considered themselves artistic, but they decided to try it to see if they liked it.

Zayne soon fell in love with pottery and discovered he had a knack for it. Zayne and Tiffany both credit their instructor, Penny Burke, for her patience and for taking the time to make sure they understood the techniques. He looked forward to classes and making the clay take shape. He began to come out of his shell as the class progressed, enjoying the socialization and learning from more experienced classmates.

He also found pottery to be very grounding and relaxing, helping him stay calm and focused in a way he hadn’t been for a long time.

“I just remember when I was working on one of the bowls, ‘this is the quietest my train of thought has been in a long time,’” Zayne said. Having autism coupled with ADHD, he added, “It’s always chaotic. There's just odd, intrusive thoughts and random noises to pop in periodically, but here it was like just a single song playing calmly in my head as I worked on trimming and shaping the edge. It’s really kind of therapeutic.”

Zayne made several pieces during the pottery class that he is really proud of, most especially a platter he gave to his grandmother for Christmas. He wants to continue taking pottery classes and develop his newfound talent.

“I’m still learning, still getting better. I feel like clay work is something I can keep doing for a very long time.”

Thanks to your support, the Newberry Arts Center provides enriching experiences and helps people of all ages discover new interests and talents!

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