Pottery โ€” A craft tradition for girls at Rockbrook

Girls Crafts and Ceramics Camp

One of the many folk crafts of the Appalachian region, including the area around Rockbrook Camp, is pottery. Following a long tradition of people making household pots from clay, there are now, according to the Southern Highland Craft Guild, more than 125 ceramic artists and potters working in western North Carolina. Using traditional and modern techniques, the most amazing sculpture, tiles, pots and other vessels still spring from these hills.

At Rockbrook, girls and crafts definitely go together, and making pottery is something just about everyone does. It’s probably one of the most popular activities, in fact (not counting horseback riding ๐Ÿ™‚ ). Working with clay, pinching, rolling, flattening, shaping, texturizing, and spinning on the wheel, the girls make some amazing things. It’s particularly exciting to see how the glazes come out after firing their work. Who would think continuing an Appalachian crafts tradition would be so fun!

Childrens Summer Camp Needlecraft

Children Needlecraft at Summer Camp

Another super popular summer camp activity for children at Rockbrook is something we call “Needlecraft.” It’s a craft activity where we make all kinds of things out of yarn, string, and thread, and as you might expect, use “needles” to weave, tie, twist and knit the strands into interesting patterns and shapes. Sometimes we do cross stitch (like in this photo), sometimes knitting, sometimes crocheting, or needlepoint, or other kinds of embroidery. It’s fun to learn these “old timey” crafts, and you can make some amazing things… hats, scarves, bookmarks, monograms, blankets, even socks! Plus, it’s the kind of thing that you can keep doing when you get home if you like.

Sitting on the back porch of Curosty, under the trees, listening to the creek and the birds, wiht lots of friends… it’s the perfect place to enjoy needlecraft.

Pottery Camp for Girls

Pottery Camp at Rockbrook

What’s the pottery program like at Rockbrook Camp?

It’s fantastic! There are two different pottery studios at camp, each with work tables for hand building (using coils, slabs, and pinch techniques) and potter’s wheels for learning how to make wheel-thrown pots. No matter what their level of experience, campers can make all sorts of bowls, plates, cups, and sculptures. One popular thing to make is a whistle that you shape into some kind of animal, like a turtle for example. It’s neat to actually make your own pottery at camp instead of just glazing pre-made pots. After your creations are “bisque fired” (the first kiln firing that completely dries and stabilizes the pottery), you then paint on different color glazes, and after the final firing, you’ve got the coolest, shiny colored ceramics. Of course, in addition to learning all about this, it’s great to bring home all the pottery you’ve made.

Loom Weaving at Summer Camp

Craft Weaving Summer Camp

One of the most traditional arts and crafts activities at Rockbrook is weaving. It’s been something girls have done at camp since the very beginning back in 1921. In the craft cabin we call Curosty (which even pre-dates camp!), there are several table-top and floor looms we use to teach basic weaving techniques. It takes some time to set things up and to learn how to operate the looms, but you can make really cool designs. Bits of yarn and string, even natural fibers you gather around camp, all come together to create fabrics, place mats, belts, and other straps. Weaving is a lot of fun, and if you really enjoy it, it’s something you can do at home too.

Kids Craft Camp

Kids Craft Camp Activities

We found this great photo from last summer and it reminded us of how much fun it is to tie-dye t-shirts at camp. It’s always exciting to see what your shirt looks like when it’s done, and so difficult to wait overnight while the dye sets! And like all the craft activities at camp, getting to bring home all of your creations makes it even better.

How many tie-dye shirts do you have? Let’s see…. one every summer at camp, at least!