Sunday, 8 January 2012

Introducing 6th Morpeth Scout Group and their Amazing Earthenware Christmas Freak Show

I've definitely lost a bit of momentum with my blog lately. I spend a huge percentage of my life at a keyboard and lately it's all got a bit much! I'm beginning to feel as if I'm actually living through my keyboard these days. So, although I don't really have any real New Year Resolutions as such (mainly because I'm hopeless at keeping to them), I have resolved to spend less time at the computer and more time doing stuff.  If nothing else, I'll probably write fewer words on my blog posts this year.  Probably.

But first... I have to write some words about one my favourite ceramic events of 2011....

Boys, this is a snowman!
During November, at the request of Silmara Hodge, Scout Leader, I had the pleasure of running a ceramics workshop with the 6th Morpeth Scouts' Discovery and Rover Groups in order that they could gain their Craft Badges.  My class consisted of 18 Boy and Girl Scouts, aged from about 10 to 13 years old plus a couple of the adult helpers who couldn't resist joining in too. Given the closeness to Christmas, I decided we'd make ceramic snowmen lanterns.

During the workshop we covered coiling, pinching, joining, slip decoration and worked with white earthenware (snowman coloured see?) as our body. It was great fun; my class included a lot of very creative young people, but I'm not sure that many of their finished articles could be classified as 'snowmen' as such! We ended up with all kinds of weird and wonderful creatures. I learned a bit that day, myself, about giving workshops to young people!  I had a very specific objective in mind and quite definite plans about how we were going to achieve it. Within the first half hour, I'd set those plans to one side and found myself advising not on how to add a scarf or a hat or a carrot nose to a snowman but rather how to add tentacles to a monster, a mohican hairstyle to a glam rock star, an abducted dog under an alien's arm and even how to apply a coat of green paint to Yoda!

The boys in the group were definitely much keener to make monsters, aliens, anything other than snowmen whereas the girls (including the 2 adult female helpers) did, in fact, make some recognisable and very lovely snowmen, including a really delightful 'Harry Potter' snowman complete with wand and magic broomstick. All in all... clay, colour, imagination and skill all combined to give some pretty amazing results and everyone ended up with an impressive 'lantern' of some kind.

Donny Darko and friend
Glam rocker
Lock up yer dogs

Ok, Libby, show 'em how it's done

True freaks!

Just love the concentration here
 (and the colour scheme of course!).

Talking of colour schemes....

Well done 6th Morpeth Scouts! You were brilliant!
 Many thanks also to Silmara and Alex Hodge for inviting me to do the workshop, and to Patrick Smith, fellow student from Newcastle College for invaluable assistance on the day.