This is my best day
â€œThis is my best dayâ€ Mimi (aged about 6) said to me. â€œWhyâ€™s that Mimi?â€ â€œBecause today Iâ€™m working with clay.â€
Mimi with her new found material – Rodd earth.
We were on the edge of Rodd Wood, most of the group were in the wood, and some were sitting just below us in the sunshine enjoying the landscape. Photographer Kate Green had earlier prompted Mimi to pick up some soft muddy earth on the track and by the time I’d caught up with Mimi her eyes were sparkling and voice wobbled with excitement about the possibilities of this new found material. Now she was making a cup which, after much handing, was becoming dry and cracking: to her dismay. I wet my hands with water from a puddle and smoothed it over the cup repairing the cracks. I showed her how to use water to help shape her work and keep the clay supple. Mimi showed me how to successfully scoop water in cupped hands to fill more cups – by now we were, under her guidance, making an entire tea set decorated with acorn cups from the nearby oak tree. Being in the wood, in the moment, inspired by the new discovery Mimi was very content, in control of her activity and excited.
After lunch Mimi worked with the terracotta clay and earthenware clays (we keep a stock at The Rodd) with some of the bigger girls and her mum. This time Mimi used the ceramics tools to cut and decorate the rolled out clay. Her mum Parisa told me how in Pakistan she used to decorate tea sets for a living. Here she rolled clay into flowers and cones and painted on delicate floral patterns.
Photo credit: Kate Green Photography
Even with experience of working with family groups, we still have so much to learn from the stories that participants share with us about their lives – fragments of experiences which make them who they are.
Images above - photo credit: Kate Green Photography