Date of Award

Spring 2-11-2024

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Raquel C. Stephenson


This capstone thesis charts the development of a method to make, tend, break, and mend a saggar-fired ceramic sculpture, addressing the question, “How can a ceramic process of rupture and repair be useful for developing resilience to trauma?” It highlights the value and drawbacks of the application of ceramics to art therapy. Current literature supports creative destruction as a healing tool for trauma survivors and details how to incorporate it safely. This four-day workshop involved two participants with a trauma history. Both had undergone years of therapy and were screened for ego strength. Results showed that the method can be carried out safely, can be enjoyable, and can result in empowerment, agency, and resilience. Themes that emerged were establishing safety; somatic integration through haptic experience and contact with clay; the value of creative destruction and controlled breaking; addressing perfectionism; identification with the artwork; and somatization of the art making process. Participants noted that rupture creates a need for repair, but what emerges is something different and better. Without the rupture, we remain static and cannot evolve.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.




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