Healing through creativity

Brigitte Greyling integrates art with healing by allowing her clients to get in touch with their creative side.

20 July 2021 | People

ELIZABETH JOSEPH

KEETMANSHOOP

Brigitte Greyling has been in touch with her creative side for as long as she can remember, and now uses it as a form of healing - through pottery.

With several qualifications as a nail technician as well as in counselling, she started with her crafts more than 20 years ago and said her passion for it has only grown stronger.

“Sela Therapy Centre was started two years ago and is the counselling part of the business where I do multi-level brain neuron processing (MLNP) therapy as cognitive behaviour therapy. I qualified at Phillipi Trust and Perspective Training College under Dr Edgar Phillips. The MLNP therapy is a relatively young treatment, but with surprising outcomes,” she said.

Established three years ago, Bak Gat Pottery Studio is an initiative Greyling started to help integrate art with healing by allowing her clients to get in touch with their creative sides while dealing with trauma and problems they face on a day-to-day basis.

“This blends very well into the therapy side of my practice and we enjoy it tremendously. It creates a sense of accomplishment and self-worth with the participants and students. I absolutely love what I do,” she said.

Before Covid-19, her pottery class had nine students, however, the pandemic has resulted in the temporary cancellation of classes.

Worth it

Greyling said she caters to anyone from age 12 to 90. Payments for the therapy is done on a donation basis of N$150 for two hours, while the pottery classes are N$400 per month and N$0.10 per gram for the end product.

This includes the creations being fired twice: Once at 1 000 degrees Celsius and once at 1 260 degrees Celsius, as well as the glazes.

“The clay we use is stoneware white clay and I import it from Cape Town via courier services. Courier costs are double the cost of the clay, which makes it awfully expensive, but the joy and therapeutic treasure override the price and effort to obtain the clay,” she said.

She said the hardest part for her and her students is the fact that the south of the country does not have a big enough market to support them.

She lamented that the market is weak and her students mostly make products specifically ordered by a client or a product which will become a gift to a friend or family member.

“We would be overjoyed if we could find a place in the city centre in Keetmanshoop where we can sell our products,” she said.

Greyling’s students do most of their art and paintings with oil paint, glazes and alcohol ink. She mentioned this started as a personal journey for her 10 years ago and is a space where she - alongside her students - can experience solitude and peace.

Beauty from within

While busy with other projects, she owns and runs a nail salon called Touch of Class and said she enjoys making women feel special and seeing how their confidence increases after every session.

“Here we do gel and acrylic nails with different Bio Sculpture products, and the results are always stunning.”

Greyling said she is inspired by happiness, joy, personal growth, nature, the community and the fulfilment of a dream created by one’s own hands as well as the joy the products bring as a gift.

In future, she said she’d like to continue juggling all three of her businesses.

“Sometime in the in the near future, I would also like to work on an art project school for children in the south,” she added.

“Our young people truly need more healthy recreational spaces. Maybe there could also be a drama training facility added, something like the Drama Club in Windhoek.”

She wants to encourage artists to chase their dreams with passion and patience.

“You can pretty much learn to be a creative. Do not be afraid to try anything. You might just surprise yourself. Ask if you need help and gather any and all information on your subject,” Greyling encouraged.

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