A Part of Something Bigger

The Pottery Workshop
Hello there friends, Emily the assistant director of pottery here at Rockbrook!  As camp draws to an end, we are busy loading and unloading kilns.  During this last activity rotation, there isn’t enough turnaround time for the girls to take home the pieces that they make.  Instead, we are making group projects (like a collection of mini animals that will decorate upper pottery and large coil pot planters that will be filled with beautiful floral creations).  The girls really enjoy leaving a piece of themselves behind at Rockbrook – they feel like they are part of something bigger.

A Little CreationIn fact, everyone at Rockbrook is part of something bigger – all together, every smile, counselor, dip in the chilly lake, skinned knee, hug, squeal, and camper join together to form the spirit of Rockbrook.

One striking part of this spirit is the drive that the girls put into their activities.  Since the girls get to choose their activities, they are very eager to learn and participate.  I get such joy when girls sign up for pottery for more than one activity rotation.  Soon, girls that have been pottery regulars can pipe in during class to remind their friends to slip and score the handle onto their mug so that it stays.  We do a lot of handbuilding, but the activity that the girls love the most is going on the wheel.  I have had a handful of girls that have become so invested in throwing on the wheel that they have signed up every rotation period.  Now, throwing is much more difficult than it looks, and I always tell the girls that throwing is still fun whether you get a beautiful bowl, or a silly looking pile of flopped clay.  We want the girls to feel accomplished with their pot that they make on the wheel, so they do (almost) every step on their own.  After we center their clay for them (just because it is too difficult for beginners to learn!) they do everything else on their own, the opening, widening, pulling up of walls, and shaping of the pot.

Getting it Just RightMy dedicated wheel throwing girls have progressed so much this session.  They started with half pound balls of clay.  Each time they came back, they requested heavier balls of clay.  They finished out the session throwing almost three pounds of clay with minimal help!  At camp, the girls are able to come into an activity with no knowledge, and if they have the desire and dedication to keep signing up for the activity, they walk away with a new skill.  So parents, when your campers return home so soon (too soon!) be prepared to hear stories of crazy camp antics, their favorite muffin flavors, and facts about their new friends, but also get them to tell you what they made and what they learned.  Encourage them to keep working on their new skills, and to hold onto their drive and Rockbrook spirit.

Emily Williams

Assistant Head of Pottery

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