Here at SSFS we try hard to reduce, recycle, and reuse... And certainly in the art barn, we art teachers are no strangers to hoarding and reusing the most bizarre of left-over objects. I've always said, give me multiples of anything, and I can find a cool transformation or project for it. So, it comes as no surprise that a big component of the art barn program consists of recycled…dinosaurs. Maybe. Or maybe not really, but still a good guess.
Empty Bowl Stories
There have been many bowls made over the years of Empty Bowl at SSFS, thousands in fact, made by young hands, the less young, and all in-between. Many bowls rise above the rest: some truly amazing bowls; others just utilitarian but created with great care; large, small, and even tiny; and others made by those touching clay for their very first time. Some of those bowls are memorable for their unique journey. This year one bowl has shimmied to the top of the amazing collection. Read the story of the Rose Bowl...
Only children play with clay, right? What adult would possibly want the sticky mess congealing in their rings, oozing out from under their fingernails, or getting caked on their clothes? You would think that between oil changes, snow shoveling, laundry, homework supervision, grocery shopping, and so many other tasks one’s head goes dizzy, they would not choose to come out and play with clay. Well, many, many adults do just that.
Yup… Elmer in all his patchwork glory, of red, blue, green, orange, and white, glorious patches! It is a pachyderm just like Elmer, the wonderful colorful elephant created by David McKee. So how, one might ask, did Elmer come to be residing in the art barn, even if only for a bit? Well, it is a delightful story. One of hope, determination, patience, and humbling generosity!
A young 5th grader came to the art barn one weekend afternoon with an idea in her heart and great determination to try her best. She wanted to make a bowl for the Empty Bowl project with a hand cupping the belly. The making of a bowl is a challenge in and of itself, but to form the delicate shape of fingers in clay is difficult, and only a resolute artist would take on the task. So off she went, undeterred by my hesitation, nor by the complex task at hand.
The Story of how a Giraffe came to live for a bit in the Art Barn: Granted, this giraffe is a bit unique: he is neon orange (and maybe he is not even a “he”; I am not versed in giraffe etiquette, but I do know that neon is a bit unusual). His head is perpetually bent in a quizzical glance and his two ossicones are red. He is hiding his blue tongue (all 18” of it!), but his 6-foot-long legs are straight – and spotted! He/she does not yet have a name, but let me tell you how he came to live for a while in the barn, bringing along some friends.
It was a grey fall weekend afternoon, and people were coming to the Art Barn from all over–leaving their homes, their chores, the sports game and their time for relaxation–in order to work together towards a collaborative goal of helping others. Pushing up their sleeves, they got right down to the messy but fun business of forming clay into bowls. Challenged to make the pliable material both useful and beautiful, they worked the clay until textures, patterns, designs, carvings, and applique details emerged into different shapes. Bowls of all sizes and designs blossomed on the window sill, awaiting their time in the kiln.