This summer’s Garden of Fire program kicked off with a field trip to 171 Cedar Arts Center in Corning, NY. Counselors from CareFirst collaborated with Amanda Warren, artist and ceramic studio technician at 171 Cedar Arts to provide a program that integrates clay-making with mindfulness and emotional well-being.
They started the session with introducing the theme of Powerful Pollinators and had a brainstorming session. They discussed the roles of pollinators in nature and different types of symbolism for pollination. They were asked to choose their favorite pollinator or pollinated plant to design on their tile.
Students sketched designs and ideas for creating their own hive tile out of clay. After a short demo led by Amanda, students used their sketched ideas to embellish their own clay tile with their designs by using additional clay, stamps and carving tools.
Next, students painted their tiles with underglaze. In groups, youth took turns touring the clay studio and had the opportunity to try out the pottery wheels. The basics of wheel throwing was compared to centering one’s self through life’s challenges. The act of opening, pulling and shaping clay was compared to how we shape our lives by overcoming many obstacles.