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Creative ID: 049

Art form(s): Craft/Object, Community Art.

Based in: Hamilton. 

When I'm available: As I am retired, I am flexible with my time. I do have regular commitments of yoga and babysitting my grandchildren which occupy Monday and Wednesday morning til lunch time. Other commitments can work around clay.

Where I'm available: I live in Tamahere, in Hamilton – and can travel in and around the Hamilton area. If possible, I would prefer to work in the central and southern side of Hamilton, happy to go to smaller areas like Te Awamutu also.

My arts or creative practice (including details about my specific focus within that art form/practice and my strengths)

I am a ceramic artist. I have done a lot of volunteer work with uku (clay) in low decile schools, enjoying sharing this fantastic creative outlet. In the past, I have supplied clay, my teaching time, glazes and firing at little or no cost. Clay, glazes and firing are all costly, I have limited my volunteering to once a term, to date. Waikato Society of Potters have recently sponsored me in that they provide some glazes at no cost. I have been into several schools. I am a retired school teacher. I enjoy going to bilingual or full immersion kura as it allows me to listen and practise my own te reo (I learnt for five years). I would be very keen to apply for funding, to allow me to expand the work I am already doing. It is satisfying to see students' amazement as they receive their own bowl or creation, glazed and finished. Nothing transforms quite like clay from start to finish. It is a cross-curricular activity like no other.

My track record of experience and success - or the track record of experience and success of the creative or artist that I will partner with

I have been working with clay since 2011. My ceramic outfit was a finalist in the World of Wearable Art competition. I have been a resident artist at Waikato Society of Potters. I have exhibited in several group exhibitions in Artspost and other exhibition centres. I have a keen interest in sharing the joy of creating with clay and I have worked with various individuals, community groups and schools in a voluntary capacity. I have my own studio, which includes a dedicated glazing area, a wheel, a kiln and a lot of pottery equipment. This allows me to share what is often a prohibitively expensive hobby with others. I have a strong interest in te ao Māori, and enjoy working in the Rumaki environment.

Describe the experience you have had working with children or young people, teaching or facilitating creative processes

I was a retired teacher. I enjoy sharing the creative experience with students. Sometimes teachers have an idea of what they want students to make. Ie: one teacher wanted the students to make 'taonga' (pendants) that they could wear to show other students they were 'kaitiaki' (guardians) of a garden they'd created. The students pressed leaves into clay, and made themselves pendants, then coloured and glazed them, and wore them with pride. Alternatively, I can provide inspiration. I have made bowls, ornamental birds, kites, taniwha and plates with students. Students enjoy making something functional such as a plate, they can take home and use. All the glazed creations are fully dishwasher and food safe. The clay process involves several stages, creating, 'bisque firing', decorating and glaze firing. Time is required to execute and decorate. A minimum of two sessions are required, with some time in between for the drying and firing process. I have my own kiln, and transport the works to and from my home for firing. Clay is often unaffordable for schools, which means students can miss out on this unique experience. I can work with all age groups, but prefer middle-upper school.

Why I want to be part of the Creatives in Schools programme and how my involvement will link to my creative practice

My reasons for wanting to bring clay to schools are: I have the time and resources to share. I enjoy seeing the joy, wonder and satisfaction clay brings. It is a frustration to me that schools are unable to easily provide a satisfying and quality clay experience, as it is expensive, requires specialist knowledge and is a labour-intensive process. Apart from enjoying teaching clay skills, I find this practice keeps me connected with my community and gives me a purpose. It is especially satisfying to find that students labelled as 'difficult' often become absorbed in clay, and benefit the most from the experience. I try to volunteer once a term, the costs to do more have been too great. Sessions are dependent on the teacher, I have spent anything from three to eight sessions in a classroom. The Creatives in Schools programme is a wonderful innovation. The CIS programme would allow me to expand the work I am currently doing.

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