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200+ kids went through our hands this weekend.

updated tue 11 may 04


Antoinette Badenhorst on sun 9 may 04

Dear Clayarters, This was probably one of the most tiresome, but most
wonderful experiences that I had in my entire pottery career. I was
asked to give as many persons as possible an opportunity to experience
the wheel. Memphis in May honors South Africa this year and I have an
exhibition going in the Mississippi River Museum at the moment. (Check
out some of the pics on my website at As part of
this assignment, I have to do some educational things. Anyway, on Friday
between 10 am and 1pm, we had 6000 kids coming through the festivities
in school groups and between Koos (my husband and potters supporter more
than a potter himself) we gave 100+ kids, ages 5 and up an opportunity
to make a small bowl. On Saturday we had children with their parents. We
had more time on Saturday, but there were still thousands of kids. We
had 3 wheels between Koos and I and I "operated" two wheels. We found
out very quickly it would be best to center the clay on the wheels for
the kids and then help them to open up the clay. Imagine all the
exercise I had with sitting down (or leaning over), to center, pulled
the kids as close as possible to the wheel, assist with throwing or take
the piece off the wheel! My back and legs worked overtime! Differently
from what I normally teach, I let them cub their hands around the clay
and press down with their thumbs to open the clay. With most of the kids
I wiggled a finger in to help with the opening and then I sneaked in
another finger to pinch the wall thin. I asked the kids if they can feel
the clay grow in their hands and almost everyone were amazed by that.
Some of those kids were too small to operate the foot pedal (some
parents cheated with the ages and I did not have the heart to send them
away), but each and every one took a little bowl home on a piece of
cardboard. Most pieces were no bigger that the lid of a teapot, but the
kids was very proud of their creations. Our biggest satisfaction came
from seeing those children's faces(and sometimes their tongues) and I
could not help but wonder how many of those kids might become future
potters. Would that not be cool if I could find out in 20 years from now
that one of those kids fell in love with clay on that day during Memphis
in May. It makes me realize more and more how important the ground work
of introducing people to clay are.
Happy potting this week guys.

Antoinette Badenhorst
105 Westwood Circle
Saltillo MS
662 869 1651

Gene and Dolita Dohrman on mon 10 may 04

I just went through basically the same exercise this weekend. Had never
worked with children on the wheel and had apprehensions. After I figured
out the logistics, it was actually fun. They got to slam the clay down on
the wheel head and I had them wet their hands and feel the clay before it
was centered. Then as I was centering, I had them position their little
hands where my hands were not so they could experience the change in the
feel of the clay. They told me when it stopped 'wiggling'-then they knew it
was centered. They helped open and then I put pressure on their fingers as
we raised the clay. I let them use a rib with my hands on theirs to shape
the bowl. Their eyes certainly got big when they pulled rib away! Some
were obviously not that into it but the little ones who liked it were such a
joy! We did not let them take the piece home and it was disappointing to
some. I do like Antoinette's idea of sending the piece home with them on a
cardboard square-maybe next year. We were just worried that they would be
even more upset when it eventually did break. We just made it a 'get a feel
for the clay' experience.
I guess I enjoyed it so much because I got to have all those little tiny
hands in mine-it just felt so wonderful.
Louisville, KY

Jaqartstudio on mon 10 may 04

Hi all...
Chiming in.......children are truely creative machines. They hold no bars on creation or possiblities....

Upon unloading from nceca and walking into the studio, the very first thing I did was put my eight year old son on the wheel. He'd been handbuilding and coiling at home and doing the pissy little things with clay at school and driving his art teacher at school nuts
with his know-how. Missing me, I suppose and wanting to be
intouch with the reason I'd been gone, he begged to "throw". I'd
been putting it off, him at the wheel, schooling him that it is a
challenge, it takes diligence....soon, you can give it a try. Given
that afterglow of Indy....Had the hands around the smaller ones
and ....Lo an'behold, that child will be throwing a fine bowl at
twelve years......he suprised me!

Way to go ladies.....200+ little hands/ more or less/, alot of love
going around that wheel.


Gene and Dolita Dohrman wrote:
>clip: I guess I enjoyed it so much because I got to have all those little tiny
hands in mine-it just felt so wonderful.
DolitaLouisville, KY

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Moderator of the list is Mel Jacobson who may be reached at guess I enjoyed it so much because I got to have all those little
hands in mine-it just felt so wonderful.

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