Artist teaches ceramics at ManorCare South

Artist teaches ceramics at ManorCare South

Williamsport Sun-Gazette | December 6, 2015


Sun-Gazette Correspondent

As people grow older, it becomes more important than ever for them to stay busy and maintain both hobbies and social activities.

While living in a nursing home, this can be a challenge. Fortunately, other community members can help older residents stay sharp by spending time with them and helping them to pursue all sorts of crafts.

One such community member is Betty Myers.

For the past several months, Myers, owner of Betty’s Ceramics in White Deer, has been visiting with residents of ManorCare South and helping them paint ceramic projects.

The residents paint a variety of different  seasonal items like pumpkins and Christmas trees, as well as individual projects like flower vases or cats.

Bonnie Isenberg, activity director at ManorCare South, said she started looking for someone to come help with ceramics projects earlier this year.

“Some of the residents expressed that they’d painted ceramics in the past and thought it would be nice to do again,” she said. 

She contacted Myers, who agreed to come to the facility and work with the residents. The residents enjoyed her visit, so Myers has been helping them paint projects at Manor Care about once a month for the past few months.

The residents take pride in their work and have the opportunity to display it, as the items that they paint are often used as decorations throughout the facility.

Myers, who grew up in Milton, has been working in ceramics for over 40 years.

“I learned mostly everything on my own,” she said.

Myers started her ceramics business in September of 1975, working out of her home.

In 1985, the building that currently houses her business was constructed off of Route 15 in White Deer, and she has been working there ever since.

Myers keeps a regular stock of items in her shop, mostly selling a lot of seasonal items. Additionally, she sometimes makes custom pieces and fires ceramic works for other people.

Myers, who turned 88 in June, said that she doesn’t let her age limit her in her ceramics business.

“I give the credit to the shop for my health,” she said. “It makes me think, it gets me out of bed, and it helps me use my muscles.”

Myers enjoys sharing her talent with the nursing home residents, and believes that working on projects is good for their health as well.

“I feel that people in nursing homes should use their hands, and with ceramics, you need to think about what you’re doing,” Myers said. “I think it’s good for them to work at it.”

In the past, Myers has also volunteered her time working with residents at Elmcroft.

Now, she works with about six to eight residents every time she visits ManorCare. She said that she enjoys not only working with them on their projects, but also just spending time talking with them while they paint.

“Betty has a great personality,” Isenberg said. “Others just want to talk to her and get to know her.”’

Many of the residents who she works with have said they really enjoy when Myers comes to ManorCare to work with them.

One resident, Diane Barger, painted a ceramic Christmas tree to replace one she used to have years ago. 

“It keeps my mind occupied and gives me something to do, and they look so pretty when they are done,” she said.

“I like that lady very much. If you have a question she speaks right up,” Helen Matthews, another resident, said. With Myers’ guidance, Matthews painted a ceramic cat, which she frequently points out to visitors with pride.

Lois Collins is another resident who had painted many ceramics in the past, especially lots of Christmas and Easter items. She enjoys Myers’ visits, since they let her revisit an old hobby of hers.

Isenberg said that ManorCare plans to continue having Myers visit, and she looks forward to seeing the residents work on different projects as the seasons change.

“Betty is a kind lady,” Isenberg said. “It is wonderful of her to take time out of her day, drive to Williamsport, and spend time with the staff and residents. She has a lot to share with those who want to listen. She brightens your day with her smile and her willingness to share her knowledge. It is a win-win situation for both Betty and the residents.”

Myers said that she feels with the growing popularity of electronics and other changes in society, ceramics is dying out as a craft. She noted that, to her knowledge, she is the only ceramics shop left in the area.

However, she has no plans of retiring anytime soon.

“I don’t plan to stop,” she said. “As long as my health holds up, I’m not going to quit.” 

And, lucky for our community, Myers keeps sharing her talents with others, too

Betty Myers
Original publication (click to view larger)

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