Colorful Works

girls camp pottery classThis is the time during a camp session when girls can be seen spending some of their free time doing crafts. You see, some of the craft projects can take quite a bit of time to complete. Take weaving, knitting or friendship bracelet making for example where a basic unit— passing the weft, knitting stitches, tying overhand knots —is repeated over and over again. Depending on the size of the project, this can require extra effort to complete. Likewise, other crafts have multiple steps involved. A painting may require a simple pencil sketch before layering on paint, for example. In pottery, there’s shaping the clay (on the wheel, using coils or slabs, etc.), letting it dry, applying different colored glazes, and then firing the pieces in a kiln. The pottery instructors want to fire the kilns on Monday, in time for the girls to pick up their finished work before going home, so there seemed to be a non-stop glazing party in the upper pottery studio today. Both kilns will fire two times over the next few days producing several hundred pieces of colorful ceramic works of art. At least one of them is bound to be yours!

Girls camp woodworking classThere’s always something special, out of the ordinary, being offered at Rockbrook, and today it was a visit to George Peterson’s woodworking studio for a tour and project workshop. Two groups would spend either the morning or the afternoon learning from George and his wife Margaret who is an Alumna of Rockbrook. George is a successful working artist here in Brevard who creates sculpture and functional pieces from different species of wood, old wooden skateboards and skis. He’s displayed his work in galleries across the United States and abroad. It’s no surprise when you see his work. Take a look at his portfolio: The Circle Factory.

Visiting George’s studio is fascinating. He has stacks of raw materials, powerful cutting tools, drills, torches and other scraps of metal he uses to shape and scar wood. There are piles of saw dust, paints and ink, straps of leather, completed projects displayed and works in progress.  Today’s project had the girls making a leather and wood bracelet from a chip of a multilayered skateboard. George and Margaret helped the girls use a drill press, a vibrating carving tool, sandpaper and a metal “RBC” brand to shape a colorful chip that they then sewed to a leather strap. As they completed each step, the girls soon had very cool “wrap around” bracelets to wear, and an exciting story to tell when they arrived back at camp.

There’s a rumor circulating among the campers that there was a midnight party last night. Some of the campers remember being woken long after they went to bed and being coaxed out to the hill where they found glittering fairies dancing, food and drink, and loud Beyonce music. Still half asleep, disoriented by glowing balloons, multicolored glow sticks, and the antics of the fairies, the campers soon found themselves having a fun, outdoor, nighttime dance party! Then as suddenly as it began, the fairies disappeared and the girls were back in bed. It’s just a rumor whether this fairy party happened or not, but I think I spotted some glitter on the hill the next morning. That makes sense, since at Rockbrook, we all know fairies are real.

3 girl campers matchingmatching girls campers

Colorful Treasures

Child glazing a pottery teapotThe glazes are out! In both pottery studios at camp, the girls have now finished many of their pieces— the bowls, soap dishes, textured tiles, cups, mugs, and plenty of sculpted animals —and are excited to give them a little color.  There are 25 or so different colors to select and then paint onto their clay creations before Katie and her pottery staff carefully stack them into the kilns for firing.  That’s where everything is transformed into beautifully shiny (now colorful) works of art.  Glazes blend together, maybe drip and run a little, and change color quite dramatically, so it’s never 100% predictable what a glazed piece of pottery will look like when it emerges from the kiln. It’s so exciting to find out! Later in the week, after everything is fired, we hold a big “Pottery Pick Up” day for the girls to come claim their work.  All the finished pieces are laid out on tables so everyone can relish the creativity and see the huge variety of items the campers have produced over the session.  Don’t be surprised if you have a box of pottery treasures to transport home next week.

Kids Camp Canoe TripThe weather this morning was so wonderful, Emily decided to announce a canoe trip on the French Broad River. Warm sunshine is always an inspiration for a paddling trip and today that was true too because it took very little time to fill the trip with 12 excited Juniors. Also, the girls were enthusiastic to get out on the river after learning their canoe strokes on the lake. They paddled a section of the river right near camp, a short section that kept them on the water for about an hour and a half… just about the right amount of time. Canoeing is one of the adventure activities that Rockbrook has offered since its founding. It’s one of the classic outdoor pursuits that, with this kind of introduction, can become a lifelong treasured hobby.

Children at summer camp square dancingAfter last week’s Saturday night dance, we changed it up tonight and held a square dance with the boys at Camp High Rocks, which is located just up the mountain from Rockbrook. You might think that going to a square dance would require less primp and prep, but there’s still hair to braid, plaid to find, and for some, boots to brush. We held 2 dances simultaneously, one at our gym for the older girls and the other outside on the High Rocks tennis courts. The idea of square dancing with boys can cause a little anxiety… not really knowing how to do it… having to hold hands! …but everything is lighthearted, and after all, part of the fun is making mistakes and laughing when you spin the wrong direction or grab the wrong hand. The counselors are dancing too, so this also helps the campers relax and enjoy themselves.  In the end, despite being a little new to everyone, and maybe a little challenging as a result, we had a wonderful evening.