Wednesday, May 26, 2010

It’s Always Good When We Work Together

Today we started to move from being just tourists to being hopefully helpful members of a community. We had a demonstration of local pottery techniques and had the opportunity to participate, to the amusement of our community collaborators, at least those of us without art experience created some pretty rugged pots, but we got help. Patricia told me that when she works this clay with her hands, it feels like she has come home, I told her that to me it felt like I was writing with my left hand, but that I was OK with that. This whole experience is supposed to be about pushing ourselves outside our comfort zones, experiencing new things. How else can we learn?

We ate lunch together and saw a demonstration of a traditional bonfire for firing pottery. Then we all worked together to prepare the site for a new kiln design, that the art students will be completing as part of their service learning project. We all worked together. We took turn in the pit, using the pike, the shovel and the hoes. The students said we were ‘schooled’ by Aunty Mary’s 68 years experience with the hoe. It reminded me of how hard it is to do manual labor in this climate and how amazingly competent so many women in tropical cultures are.
Afterward, Alicia, invited us all to Catty’s Bar for a cool drink, but then the bricks arrived! Again, we worked together, in an assembly line to unload the bricks and get them as close as possible to the kiln site. It was hard work near the end of a long day, but we did it together, students, faculty, community collaborators, extra family members, and the two drivers from the company who donated the bricks, Clay Projects Limited.

In our group meeting at the end of the day, the art students talked about how they were reminded that the clay they use – usually out of a bag – came from the ground; that this experience helped reconnect them to that flow, from the earth to their art. My students talked about being reminded that where something comes from is important and often ignored, and that they deeply appreciated being behind the post card – feely like they were welcomed to the community. Irene said, near the end of the day “It is always good when we work together.” Like Mandy said two days ago – “I’m as full as the day”.
- Win Everham