Man with intellectual disabilities painting a clay bowl.

For the past four months, Eli Zemper of Curiouser Clay has been teaching the residents how to work with clay according to their abilities. Eli says, “This is the highlight of my week. They are all such a joy to work with.”
Their first projects were ornaments. Some were even displayed in Eli’s gallery during the holidays.

After making ornaments, the residents learned how to build and create bowls.

New Work Blossoms

A woman is making a bowl out of clay.The focus of their clay classes has pivoted toward spring. They are learning about gardens, bells, and wind chimes. Eli is now conducting interviews with the clay artists. She is also teaching them to make windchimes. She partnered with Chelsea District Library to display the artwork throughout May. The wind chimes will be displayed in the Reading Garden. Each wind chime will have a QR code nearby so visitors can scan it and listen to each artist talking about themselves.

Eli was inspired to do this project with the residents based on a program she taught as an artist-in-residence at Washtenaw Technical Middle College back in 2022. The program entitled, Storytelling in Clay, challenged the students to write their own story as a podcast script. The stories were later recorded and posted so that the clay sculptures they created could include the QR code for viewers to hear the story of the artist. Read more about the program here: Artist-In-Residence

An adult woman with disabilities working with clay.

More details about the artist reception on May 5th can be seen HERE. Watch for details about an opportunity to make a garden bell of your own at St. Louis Center. Learn more about other clay workshops with Eli at Curiouser Clay.

Emerging Skills

Eli continues to sharpen her own skills so that she can bring more opportunities to the residents. In March, Eli will bring her newly found skills to the weekly workshops at the Center and help inspire more creativity in the residents.

This activity is supported by the Michigan Arts & Culture Council, administered by Creative Washtenaw.

Logo for Michigan Arts & Culture Council




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