I used to make regular visits to a healer of sorts. She dabbled in several different modalities, from Reiki to aura reading, and her practice also included talk therapy. While all of the guidance she gave me during our sessions was truly helpful, one particular bit of advice often pops into my mind still, years later. She told me that I needed to make time for a creative activity just for myself and not related to work in any way. Painting, arranging flowers, decorating cookies—the activity itself didn’t matter, as long as it was just for me.

I, unfortunately, had not taken her advice and carved out time for myself in this capacity until last week, when my Sculpd Filament Lamp Kit arrived. It’s a beginner-friendly, air-dry pottery set that has everything you need—including step-by-step directions—to make a rudimentary table lamp.

Within minutes of opening the bag of clay and getting my hands dirty, I could feel my blood pressure drop. The hour and a half I spent shaping my lamp form was maybe the calmest I’ve felt all year (and I recently returned from a one-week vacation in Hawaii, so that’s really saying something). I cannot recommend this activity more highly, from a self-healing perspective.

From a technical, make-your-own-lamp-at-home perspective, I was shocked by how simple and straightforward this kit is—pottery novices or the creatively shy need not be intimidated. However, in the process of making my lamp, I gleaned a few bits of insight that I thought would be helpful to share.

First, I’d go ahead and buy an extra bag of clay and do some of the smaller, super-basic projects (a pinch pot, a trinket dish) as a primer. It will help you get used to working with the medium and give you more confidence when you feel ready to begin your lamp.

Also, think about what you’d like your lamp design to be before you begin. There’s a huge amount of inspiration on Sulpd’s Instagram feed that shows the wide range of what’s possible (an astronaut, a mushroom, and a dog-shaped lamp are just a few clever examples; you can also keep it simple with a minimalist creation). Going in with a general game plan will help you feel more confident and proficient.

Give yourself some time to complete this project. While creating the body of your lamp can happen rather quickly (depending on how complex and ambitious your design is), you’ll have to let it sit and dry completely (one to two days) before you can paint it. So don’t expect your museum-worthy lamp to be ready overnight.

But most important, just go for it. Think of it as an effective form of self-care and the result won’t only be a few hours of stress-obliterating calm (although that’s reason enough for me) but a new piece of decorative lighting.

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