Students Give Creativity A Spin At Clay Camp In Wva

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) — Students are learning how to use pottery wheels and build with clay as the Huntington Museum of Art kicked off its summer programs with Clay Camp.

Museum educator George Lanham said Clay Camp is a chance for new pottery crafters and skilled crafters to expand their skills and leave with the items they have created.

“Some people have experience in clay and others do not, so we have a mixed bag of skill levels, but we’re all building skills, using some critical thinking and creativity to create a variety of things that are either sculptural or functional,” he said.

The Clay Camp is the first of many summer camps being offered by the Huntington Museum of Art, with some others focusing on mixed media art, nature and science. More information about the camps can be found at the museum’s website.

Lanham said the items the students make are often those that can be used in their homes or given as gifts to friends and family.

Charlie O’Keefe, 13, said it was his first time attending a camp at the Museum of Art.

Though he does not describe himself as artistic, Charlie said he has enjoyed learning how to use the pottery wheels and mold sculptures by hand, and he likes seeing what his own mind comes up with to build.

“It allows me to express my creativity to myself and show myself what I can make, and to other people, too,” he said.

Parsley Taylor, 16, has participated in multiple camps at the Museum of Art over the years, but this was her first time trying her hand at clay.

On Thursday, Parsley crafted a bowl on the pottery wheel and embellished her creation using inspiration from Dungeons and Dragons, a fantasy role-playing game.

Parsley said she has more experience with writing and digital media art forms, but she’s enjoyed the chance to create something new with a new medium.

“It’s just a fun skill to have, and you get to make things,” Parsley said. “Like, it’s so cool to make things, and I will get to actually use this bowl in the future.”

Lanham said he is passionate about sharing his knowledge of art with students throughout different camps in the summer. Lanham said teaching crafts like pottery can give young people a glimpse into Appalachian history.

“Because I think for all of us living in Appalachia in West Virginia, craft is something that’s really approachable for us,” he said. “Whether it’s basket weaving, pottery or even like the craft of canning or quilting — all of those things are part of our cultural and social fabric.”