WYCKOFF, N.J. — A former Wyckoff school art teacher founded a therapeutic clay business to help others find their own creativity.
Lisa Hartensveld established "Creating with Clay Kit" — a sister to the three-year old company, "Creating with Clay."
She partnered with Suanne Ohl, a retired social services worker, who is formerly of Ridgewood.
“I’ve worked with a boy with no hands who does it with his feet,” she said. “I feel so blessed - it has been nothing short of a miracle.”
The clay is non-toxic, manipulatable and therapeutic, as participants — some who have fine-motor challenges — benefit from working with the it.
The kits includes self-hardening paint, and doesn't require a kiln. Kits are sold individually but enough can be purchased for groups to work on projects together in a therapeutic session.
Hartensveld enjoyed drawing and making mud pies in her backyard as a child. She first took up an interesting new career, that she said never worked out.
After floundering for four or five years, Hartensveld spoke to with a neighbor — a nurse — and decided to start a pottery program with residents at nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
Now, Hartensveld teaches more than 80 classes a month. With a staff of seven, the group is working to expand the business throughout the state and in Florida as well.
Hartensveld consulted medial professionals about exercises that can be done with the clay to help people with special needs, senior citizens, youngsters and more.
One of her participants’ completed pieces accidentally dropped and broke. She was amazed that he fondly still kept the pieces.
“Some people feel like they have nothing left to give - and they realize - I have potential," Hartensveld said. "It completely transforms them.”
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