Clay is such a generous material, constantly offering us different shapes. Growing familiar with this element is something that can only be acquired through time and with a great deal of love (which also provides us with a more analytical way of looking at things).
For some, handling clay is sheer delight, while others find it disgusting.
During the pottery classes I try to make the children first feel the consistency of the material. I begin by telling a little of my own story, then ask questions and set challenges according to the average age of the class. On occasion, we sing a song together and pick some personage to portray in clay.
Normally I show the pupils some teaching material with images of my work for them to understand better the step-by-step creative process of a sculptor, like a video showing this process from beginning to end.
This hub of activity sets off sparks of talent that surprise even the “junior sculptors” themselves. I try to establish a link between the artist and the child. The first class is almost always sheer euphoria, especially if it is held in a poor community. There is always some doubt in the child´s mind: is she really going to come here? The second class is usually less agitated – the ice has been broken, a link has been built and to the surprise of the children in the community, the artist has come back again.
What I realize is that in the communities where the children don´t have so much access to technology, their performance is better. Some children just don´t want to stop creating - it´s all very moving, there are so many scenarios, so many different characters.
Then I begin to know each of the little ones better; some speak little but put into their sculpture much of what they fail to verbalize. I feel that within each child there is an artist, and the rhythm and time of each single one of them must always be respected.
Re-reading the work of Sandra Guinle through toy workshops and games with the team of the Museum of Toys and Education - MEB link
Visits and workshops provided for several audiences.
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© 2017 by Sandra Guinle. Design and photography Ines Lampreia
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