For about five years or so, the Hawaii Potters Guild has been teaching classes to the elementary school students at Palama Settlement. The classes are held on Wednesdays, in five-week sessions, because the keiki get out of school early on Wednesdays and it gives them a productive way to spend the afternoon – and keeps them off the streets. In the past couple of years, clay classes have expanded to the Palama teens.
I love the clay program at Palama because it’s such a fine example of a volunteer project that totally works. Classes are lead by Rayna Galati, outreach organizer for the Hawaii Potters’ Guild. She is ably assisted by Michelle Ferguson. Together they take care of everything, from securing the budget (clay is not cheap!) to giving lessons, to making brownies.
They have found that the students respond best to themes and this year’s theme was “Ocean Creatures”. They let their imaginations go wild with manta rays, honu and octopus. And they’re not afraid of color!
Since many Hawaii schools no longer offer art classes, this program is especially important. If you run into anyone from the Hawaii Potters’ Guild, please tell them how much their kokua is appreciated. And if you happen to be in Chinatown during the next few weeks, do pop in to the gallery to see this beautiful work. It’s up through the month of November.
– Paula Rath