From January until March I was honored and privileged to work with a few different groups of Alternative Education students. Many of the students had never worked with clay before. During the 8 week program we researched and history and culture and how we/they relate to clay and the Pottery vessels in our lives. The students then worked on designing dishes that they would serve a recipe of their choice on. This was a big challenge for all of us because it was a lot to do in 8 weeks and clay projects need time to dry, fire twice as well as cool off. All this on top of a steep learning curve that participants needed to go through to develop enough skills to create a project and work out design flaws. The students stepped up to the challenge and we produced a body of work that was used in the final feast that was a well deserved, delicious feast for all the participants as well as the Principal and Vice Principal of JMac school.
Caitlin Nicholson (right) was the organizer of this program. Together we developed the project and we look forward to developing it further.
Several of the students earned extra credits with the research and reporting they did.
The optional research projects had information in it that I was excited to learn as I read their reports.
Medalta Pottery in Medicine Hat, Alberta is now a Museum and I was impressed to see that they students had done a report about it. I hope this type of learning helps create conversations that lead to more people learning about Medalta.
This project concluded with the students making their visions a reality. The food was eaten but the serving dishes will be something that will remind them of a job well done and the knowledge they gained from the experience.
Many of the students wanted to make very big dishes. This is a big challenge for beginner potters. Most of the projects were successful.
We were honored to have an elder come to some of the classes and teach us some the local Lheidl T'enneh First nation language words.