Children's Pottery and Drawing Workshops, August 2002
Workshop for children teaching slab, coil, pinch and other ways of creating with clay.
Although our main focus in August was working with adults, it is part of CCC, Inc. philosophy to be all inclusive, so we didn't want to exclude the children.
We held a 2 day workshop which was attended by 10 children. As with other workshops we have offered the fact that we charged a small fee limited the attendance. I had also wanted to offer a free workshop for the local children, but we ran out of time and it didn't happen. The children were able to work with Laurel on her mosaic project, so that made up for the missing clay workshop.
In the workshop that was taught, Barbara covered the basic ceramic techniques. She also had the children make their own tools for working with the clay. Because it was an all day affair, we took a break for the children to teach us a game and then another one when a friend of mine showed up with a drum and some other instruments. He gave a short music lesson which the children enjoyed.
From my own observations and comments heard from parents, I feel that workshops for children are extremely important. The children do not get much art in school and are not stimulated intellectually during their vacation and weekend time. They do not fill in their spare time with computers and TV and movies as western children do. They are eager to learn and very receptive to any skills that we teach them.
Excerpts from workshop evaluations written by participating children:
For me coming here was a great opportunity. I really enjoyed myself at Aba House learning new things about art was a wonderful thing. It could help children to improve upon their skills and I think such an opportunity should not be stopped.
I thought that we were just coming to draw and color, but when I saw the house I was so excited to be in a place like this. I also loved the way Auntie Aba was teaching and encouraging us. I hope you will organize another workshop for us children to attend.
I hope next time the duration will be extended-I enjoyed every minute.
I want you to continue the work because it is the best thing in the country!
What I liked about the workshop was that I was able to do a lot of things with clay-what I didn't like was that the time is short
I like the workshop because it enables us to do many things with clay and I dislike it because it wastes time-I do not like it to continue because I do not get time to sleep
Today I also had experience in mosaic work and I want to continue until night because there is not ample time to work-I am grateful to you for teaching me.
Next time I hope you will make it one week instead of 2 days. The time goes very fast when you are working with clay.
Workshops of such nature should be organized regularly. Especially when students are on holiday to keep them away from bad company.
Children's Drawing Workshop
This was a spontaneous workshop with the neighborhood children.
We sent out a call to the neighborhood children to come to Aba House for a drawing session. It wasn't difficult to get participants. Because there is so much activity at Aba House and because we want to keep track of who's there and what they are doing, we are constantly struggling with the problem of how often to let the neighborhood children come in. If we don't have some kind of control, there would be dozens of them at any given time, so it is not unusual to have children sitting at the edge of our property waiting for an opportunity to participate in a workshop. We organized this impromptu class because Barbara wanted to have an exchange of drawings between some Ghanaian children and the children she teaches in the USA. She also subsequently went to a Ghanaian school and had a class draw some pictures also.
Barbara asked the children to visually show life in their neighborhood. After passing around crayons and colored markers, she prompted them to concentrate on things that are ordinary to them, but wouldn't be to the American children, so they drew women carrying things on their heads, goats in the street, everything we could see by looking out the window. I had expected that since they live in a fishing village, there would be a lot of fisherman and boats in their drawings, but this didn't happen. The Nungua children are always a pleasure to work with. I don't expect any of them to become professional artists, but it always makes me smile to see them concentrate so hard on their art work and to be so proud of themselves.
Children's Pottery Workshop
Although Barbara was our potter in residence, we decided to conduct one more workshop after she left. It was taught by Ellie Schimelman and Sammy Ansi.
The invitation read:
We are happy to invite you to another two day non-residential workshop on pottery being organized by Cross Cultural Collaborative, Inc. together with specialists from USA and Ghana. This particular workshop will offer participants, especially school children on vacation, the chance to express themselves as individuals and as groups. Participants will acquire artistic as well as educative skills in the use of clay. Examples of these items are: whistles, containers, pots, murals, clay beads and vases.
We had 18 participants. There were about 6 teachers and Sammy worked with them separately while Ellie worked with the rest of the group which were mostly secondary school students.
The interest can be summed up by what happened the second day. Class was supposed to start at 9 a.m. When Ellie and Sammy came at 8 a.m. for their morning coffee they were told that the students had been waiting for them since 6:30 a.m. This in Ghana, where it's not unusual for people to drift into a class half way through the session.
In conversations with the students I was told that they were so happy to have access to as much clay as they wanted and an interesting place to work. They also appreciated having professional potters there who could help with their projects.