The new year arrived in the midst of fun with the Ladysmith
Little Theatre because on top of working like maniacs with our pottery students, preparing for the Studio Tour,
and Christmas, we were also involved with the theatre’s annual Christmas Panto. We finished that show on New Year’s Eve, and by the 7th of January, we began rehearsals for the Man of La Mancha which won’t open until the 22nd of April.
But yes, students. We had those right up to and just past our November studio tour. This was an ambitious class (Ceramics Art 10) and students not only made ceremonial bowls, carved with First Nations designs, but also made war canoes, and a trivet tile project.
It’s that last project that actually wasn’t completed until last week and students had to return to do their final finishing. But they are sweet. I’m posting just a few pictures of them.
Stz’uminus Senior Secondary School now has a new course, and we feel so proud because we know that this has come about because of our work with the school over the past 5 years. There’s now a Ceramic Art 10 Class!
There is a fair bit of work to do to prepare for these classes… and yes, there are three tables running almost the length of the studio to accommodate them, and all the lawn chairs we possess too.
We sure enjoyed the students who arrived to work in our studio yesterday, and it wasn’t long before each and every one of them was smiling as they worked making the first of their pieces this term.
We’re starting them with a basic coil pot… though we may have to change that to “noodle pot” thanks to Alan who was quickly requesting more noodles in order to start a second pot.
The students will be smoothing the exterior walls of these pieces in preparation for a slip coating through which they can then carve a Coast Salish First Nations design.
They will also be creating “war canoe” vessels and tiles with First Nations motifs. But that’s jumping ahead a little and we’ll be needing to work on these noodle pots some more before we’re ready for those next projects. Mind you, we’re likely to jump back and forth between projects to allow for drying time.
We’re really delighted to know that for the next few months our Monday and Wednesday afternoons will be spent with students who we have come to know and love over the last few years.
Students like these add such joy to our own studio time. And every so often, we discover one that we know will continue to find a special connection to clay.
I would not be surprised to see Marshall wanting to continue to explore this medium. Like Alan, it wasn’t long before he was asking to start a second piece.
While we have two brand new students in this class, the rest have been here before as part of either their co-operative education or First Nations Art courses. We even get to be called Auntie and Uncle by a select few. As always, we’re truly pleased and honored to work with Stz’uminus First Nations and thank them for accepting us as members of their community.
The school year has ended, and many of our pottery students from Stz’uminus First Nation finished some exciting pieces. Chief among them this past term are Vic’s design for stoneware vessels in the shape of traditional war canoes. Some of our students actually had some pieces at a show at the Ladysmith Waterfront Gallery–an exhibit of student art that the wonderful curator there, Kathy Holmes, organizes annually.
We are going to finish some of the other pieces with simple stoneware glazes despite their lack of carving, and these will be made available to our students throughout the summer. A few have even asked if they could come and do some more work on their own time. It’s wonderful to know they’re inspired, and with them living so close, it’s not that hard fro them to come by either.
Their teacher is also not too far down the road. We actually will see Daniella before too long, because like her students, she just never found time to finish carving her own canoe.
We’re wishing all of the staff and students a wonderful happy and relaxing or productive (for those with part-time work) summer.
As always, we’re truly honored to be called “members of Stz’uminus First Nation community” and take great pride in participating in some of the cultural events here.
I’ve been having a bit of fun here lately, and I just wanted to make sure our customers and site visitors would know what I’ve added. To the Techniques pull-down menu, I’ve added a page about creating our glazes.
I’ve also added some new information under the Workshops pull-down menu. We offer both private and group lessons as well as some special interest classes. I’m delighted to have added a little video here too, showing off some of the lovely carved tiles made by local First Nations participants in these workshops and classes.
Our studio continues to be open to the public, and we delight in showing some of our skills off to visitors. We’d welcome you, so come on over.
Some women receive flowers or perhaps jewels or chocolates for their anniversary.
We just had the pleasure of seeing a wonderful couple celebrate their special day in our studio with a wheel-throwing pottery lesson. Perhaps the movie GHOST inspired them, or maybe just the need to experience the sensual pleasure of clay together.
We’re just glad they had such a great time, and managed such wonderful success. They’ll have beautiful bowls to enjoy for years to come and we know it will always remind them of this special evening.
Vic recently had the pleasure of providing a workshop for health staff of the Cowichan Tribes in Duncan. Not only is the community beautiful, but the people he was able to instruct were too.
The surroundings are so pleasant, as you’ll see in the pictures: these range from some views of the surroundings to the workshop taking place inside the Cultural Centre, to a couple of close-ups of delighted participants.
We’ve already been asked if we could do another of these workshops for the Cowichan Tribes. Since we feel we gain the pleasure of friendships with our local First Nations peoples, as well as being inspired by their cultural arts, we’re always delighted by these invitations.
Most of the tiles created by these participants reflected cultural influence. Though one tile was created by looking at an image on a cellphone… the image of a small Pomeranian pet. It’s a remarkable tile and one that is sure to be a household treasure for many years to come.
All the students enjoyed the workshop immensely, and follow-up chatter revealed that other students who had attended a different workshop wished they had come to this one. There’s something special and truly healing about a creative activity. Though the Coast Salish people do not have a tradition of working in clay, they clearly derive great pleasure from using their heritage of rich and astounding arts to convey tradition.
We really look forward to returned visits, and further opportunities to introduce clay art to the Cowichan peoples and thank them for the honour of inviting us.