DAREarts Blog

Discipline, Action, Responsibility, Excellence

DAREarts goes to the Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Arts

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Clay Feet!

A DAREarts student adds detail to his Baroque Era shoe.
The definition of having one’s feet planted in clay in pedestrian terms says that a downfall of a great person has happened.  These DAREarts kids went to the Bata Shoe Museum to look at shoes from the Baroque Era.  Then, filled with the images of excessive glory, they came to a building filled with colour, texture and light.
The Gardener Museum of Ceramics is hosting DAREarts in a workshop in which the students will shape shoes in the style of the Baroque Era. The room is surrounded with shelves, festooned with the creations of other artists.   The students are quiet, busily working with their hands, brushes, garlic presses, pieces of mesh, anything that will make an impression on the clay.  The boys are exploring the virtues of bows and high heels for men’s shoes. The girls are figuring out how the structure of the heel and balance of the shoe will keep ankles from breaking.
A chat with IanSymons, director of the workshop reveals that this isn’t just a classroom.  It’s a meeting place, where anyone can come and work in clay. They’ll fire it up for you, and you can eventually go home with your work of art.
Playing with dirt…
These students learn about how to glue the pieces of clay together, using “slip” and what is necessary to keep it structurally sound for firing.  They also help each other.  If someone has a difficult joint, another student jumps in and holds it for easier attachment.
DAREarts students at the Gardiner Museum
We all remember playing with dirt, right? Not only are these kids finding out the intimate details of a period in European fashion history, they’re learning how to design.  This is how shoes, bottles and cars have their beginnings. The rudimentary beginnings of design.
Mix the dirt with water.  Stir.  Mold. Create.
A walk around the room tells you quickly that this kind of hands on activity has many important discoveries.
One little girl said she’s like to make fur high heels for those cold days, so that you can go out in your high heels and not freeze your feet.
One boy said, “I’m gonna make moccasin high heels.”  -and he proceeded to squish clay through a garlic press, making the fringes.
Another boy made laces for his shoe, and patiently criss-crossed them on the upper of a fantastic shoe.
DAREarts Graduate Mackenzy Willis and a student
I like these clay feet. I’d wear them.
A warm thank you from DAREarts to the Gardiner Museum for getting our hands dirty! For information about their school groups, please go to School Groups.
For media questions contact Cathy Elliott,  Director of Communications celliott@darearts.com

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