This winter I had the pleasure of partnering with the ever so talented Illustrator/ Artist Veselina Tomova, along with 89 grade three students at Elizabeth Park Elementary and a gaggle of teachers. Together we created a series of ceramic tile installations. The kids blew my mind with what they made, how well they listened and worked collaboratively together.
It all began while driving through a subdivision maze of houses last year in search of a lovely little school, I couldn’t help but think I could be driving to a school in any city in Canada. There was no sense of our distinct Newfoundland culture and place. I had flashbacks of my neighborhood, surroundings and experiences as a child growing up in Bonavista, NL – the ocean, my grandfather hauling the cod trap, lobster pots, fairy stories told to me by my great uncle, and the many folk tunes sung and played at every family gathering. From this came the idea for An extraordinary story!
So the creative team (teachers, me and Veselina) set out to evoke awareness and appreciation of Newfoundland heritage and living culture among the students. Through exploring Newfoundland story telling and folk songs the kids created these wild and wonderful relief ceramic tiles capturing the narratives from the following traditional Newfoundland folk songs and folktales:
Jack was Every Inch a Sailor https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Was_Every_Inch_a_Sailor
Where Fisherman use to Be https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5DcmqHHQey4
The House on The Fairy Path https://archive.org/details/DaleJarvisTheHouseOnTheFairyPath
The Mermaid Sisters of Beachy Cove – http://www.nlunexplained.ca/2017/01/the-mermaid-sisters-of-beachy-cove.html
During the 10 visits or more to the school, stories were told, pictures were drawn, clay slabs were rolled and cut, tiles were made, kilns were fired, lots of painting was done, and grouting.
Over all, a beautiful success! A big thank you to ArtsNL and the ArtsSmarts program for funding this delightfully creative experience, students, teachers and staff at Elizabeth Park Elementary, Dale Jarvis, Brad Whitten, Craft Council of Newfoundland & Labrador Clay Studio and Veselina Tomova (my patient partner in creative crime).