“It’s fantastically therapeutic,” says Bhaggie Patel, ceramic artist and co-founder of Manchester’s Imprints of Earth ceramics studio. “Sometimes I’ll be sitting at the wheel and I’m so engrossed in what I’m doing, I don’t realise it’s turned dark outside.” Bhaggie is leading me in a one-to-one throwing class, teaching me how to turn an amorphous lump of clay into something useful, maybe even beautiful: a pot, perhaps, or a mug or bowl.
As I look down, though — at my hands caked in clay, my shoe twitching unassuredly on the foot pedal, and the gloopy grey mess spinning sadly before me on the wheel — ‘therapeutic’ is not the word that immediately comes to mind. Bhaggie is patient with me, however, and I soon begin to understand what she means. I stop overthinking, and the minutes melt away along with the worries of the day, replaced by a state of flow: complete immersion in an act at once wholesome, practical and creative.
“Any creative hobby can have huge physical and mental health benefits,” Bhaggie says. “It reduces stress and anxiety, increases positive emotions, and helps with problem solving. It gives you a sense of control and pride in whatever it is you’re making.”
Bhaggie understands more than most the healing power of arts and crafts. A former social worker, she set up Imprints of Earth with her daughter Shakti after the sudden death of her husband, Nitin, in 2018. The shelves around us are stacked with her creations: smoke-fired vases, mottled in red, black and grey; Japanese-style raku teapots, their surfaces swirled with horsehair and feathers which create unique, ethereal patterns during the firing process. “Making ceramics is an amazing metaphor for life: learning when to let go, knowing what you can and can’t control, and celebrating the beauty of imperfection,” she says.
Imprints of Earth is one of 20 shop-studios housed within the Manchester Craft and Design Centre, in the city’s artsy Northern Quarter. Bhaggie holds classes and workshops on request; other upcoming classes, advertised on a wall poster, promise visitors the opportunity to make the perfect souvenir: a leather purse, a glass sun catcher, or a silver bangle. Classes are also advertised at The Cyan Studio, a few doors down from Bhaggie’s workshop, where artist Victoria Glover teaches visitors the art of cyanotype, laying foraged twigs and leaves on chemically treated paper to create gorgeous blue and white photographic patterns.
The centre sits in the impressive surrounds of the former Smithfield Market, a handsome building dating back to 1873. As I step out of Bhaggie’s studio into the atrium, sunlight beams through the glass roof, catching the window display of a jewellery studio and spilling a gem box of rainbowed
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When I first left the hospital after my spinal injury and began adapting to life with a disability, air travel was one of the most intimidating barriers I went up against. In my former life as a non-disabled person, I had never thought about the challenges of navigating narrow aisles or accessing facilities on board an aircraft. As a paraplegic and manual wheelchair user, that privilege had been revoked.
This year more folks are prioritizing travel and newfangled experiences. We’re inspired by beloved television shows à la Emily in Paris to reexamine cities we’ve previously visited. Scoring tickets to see our favorite musical artists, like Taylor Swift, fortuitously opens up the prospect of flying to a different country. A rising wellness and longevity movement encourages travelers to seek alcohol-free vacations. Slower and more intentional travel—quality over quantity—is important and sustainability and eco-minded experiences are at the forefront.
Shannon Airport had a strong growth surge in 2023 with 1.958 million passengers welcomed to the airport, a 29 per cent increase on 2022 activity. This strong performance saw the airport achieve its highest passenger numbers since 2009, 14 years ago, with growth in air services across all markets.
A very rare path of totality will arc across the southern half of Indiana, from southwest to northeast, on April 8, the Hoosier State’s first total solar eclipse since August 7, 1869. It’s also a true once-in-a-lifetime experience for most of the population, with the next one coming on September 14, 2099.
Bostonians don’t let the weather stop us, even in the coldest months. This is New England, after all, so we know how to make the most of winter. Join us as we venture out into the icy air or retreat inside to cozy cafes and fireside tables, with food and drink to warm you from the inside out.
Every February around 570 tonnes of roses are imported to the UK, equating to a carbon emission of 30kg of CO2 per bouquet*. This year, Fiji, the South Pacific archipelago and top honeymoon destination, is offering lovebirds a sustainable gift alternative in the form of a Coral Bouquet, cultivated and planted for your loved one this Valentine’s Day.
FlightsChannel has been in existence since 2016 and they have found that a number of their customers are from Latin America, who prefer to deal in Spanish language. This Online Travel Agency (OTA) offers air tickets to passengers flying from, to, or between the USA, Canada, and Mexico. So, far English has been the language of choice for offering flight tickets to customers. Recently they have launched a Spanish site with every functionality that is available in the English version of their website. This has been done according to the demand for tickets from the Spanish-speaking community in the USA itself.
With towering peaks and pristine waters, the diverse landscapes in Japan are nature’s playground for adventure travelers. Throughout the year, outdoor enthusiasts flock to Kyushu and Central Japan, drawn by the opportunity to trek through the breathtaking, ever-changing terrain, paddle the crystal-clear oceans and rivers, and delve into the lesser-known pages of Japanese history. Whether you’re an experienced thrill seeker or a newbie enthusiast, these four destinations offer a wide variety of activities—from kayaking to cycling—that will get your heart pumping.
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