Creativity is an essential part of everyday life for 27-year-old Marcus, a resident of My Father’s House in Kingston, Jamaica. As an artisan at the Mustard Seed Ceramics Studio, his craftsmanship contributes to sustainable income for the entire MSC community.
The Ceramics Department at Mustard Seed Communities produces one-of-a-kind works of art to sell in the apostolate’s shop and at craft fairs and exhibitions. The funds received from the sale of plates, cups, vases, bowls, and other ornamental pieces of pottery are used to support the residents of MSC’s homes for children and adults with disabilities.
Marcus began his journey into the world of clay as an apprentice of Patrick Hall, the lead ceramics artist at MSC. Patrick has been throwing, molding, glazing, and firing unique objects at Mustard Seed for over 29 years; needless to say, Marcus learned his trade from a qualified and talented teacher! “Working with the residents is like working with family. When we work, we talk straight up …and that feels good,” states Patrick.
Marcus' knack for working with his hands was the catalyst for his immersion into ceramics. Along with his skills in creating with clay, he excels at working with electronics — in particular, operating the sound board at church functions. He hopes to explore opportunities to gain experience and education in technology as he continues his daily trade in the ceramics studio.
Since his arrival at Mustard Seed Communities as a 12-year-old with cerebral palsy, Marcus has learned new ways to communicate with confidence. As an involved and integral member of the ceramics department, Marcus uses his voice to banter with coworkers, answer questions posed by customers, and inquire about the task at hand.
Thousands of Mustard Seed pottery pieces have made their way into the possession of countless mission volunteers, board members, patrons, and a variety of visitors to the studio over the last thirty years. From an ornament of an angel of peace to a sturdy cross that reminds us of God’s love, MSC ceramics are works of art that inspire spiritual reflection. As residents like Marcus thrive at Mustard Seed Communities, they are also empowered to help others: caring for the most vulnerable members of society perpetuates in meaningful and reciprocal ways.