Today I sat at a booth in the Route 66 Festival in Sapulpa OK making pinch pots with kids off the street for free all day. I saw the basics. Clay in action as therapy and the joy of watching people learn how creative they can be and how rewarding it is.
I think we never get any better than we are in the 6th grade. You have the dexterity and no inhibitions. They know how to communicate and are grateful about the experience. They are critical but now too critical. Those adolescent inhibitions has usually not taken hold yet.
One little very masculine little girl wrote a note on her clay to her dad who died last year. It was her shiney diamond like earrings that told me she was a girl. She told me the story about his death and looked longingly into her pot. Another sad and serious little boy, worked and worked on his pot and then left it behind instead of taking the "free pot" with him because he was moving. Obviously he was not happy about moving but was to modest to complain about it and took it all into his heart. His sad eyes were telling. I saw a tough little skate park boy soften and create as he struggled to make a pot with one arm in a cast. There were some kids with obvious learning disabilities who loved the feel of the clay and would have stayed to work all day if parents had not pulled them away. They immediately felt at ease and confident with the clay. It was a wonderful cross section of society working in clay, a very deverse group.
So there we were in the middle of street in downtown Sapulpa on a hot and windy day in Oklahoma making an art school happen in the middle of a downtown street. I had great help from Vera, who always seems to be there helping when I need help the most. I have wonderful friends and sometimes I think they are really guardian angels, disguised as earthlings helping me get through the day. It was like the movie saying, "Just build it and they will come."
And, I might add as a potter of some 35 years, we learned a lot today. One little girl took such an original approach to working with clay that we photographed her pot and asked if we could copy some of her ideas. Oh the wonders of the fresh young enthusiastic mind in clay. It was an exhausting day and I did not make much money at all with the free booth and took about a four hour nap for me to recuperate. What a pleasure to learn from the children. And what a pleasure for them to have unique clay experiences. Water Street Gallery in Sapulpa hired me for the day to make this happen and give the community an awareness that art is there.
I will post some photos when people send them to me. Art communicates.