“We’ve been making pots like the Native Americans would using only the utensils that we could find in kitchens and stuff. We used river stones and spoons to smooth out our pots,” Cat Cooney, a fourth-grader at Mission Road Elementary School, said.
Teacher and artist Cathy Amos from the Michael C. Carlos Museum helped guide the young artists toward making pots they could bring home, beginning with a history lesson.
“We start every morning with a morning myth and I’m trying to get a variety of areas involved in that, ... and when we went to the museum we just got such a fantastic map on the wall and it’s a great teaching tool,” Amos said. “We talked about the various [native American] groups and the diverse cultures that existed and also they were so much the same across the nation.”
She continued, “... [Native Americans] never use the potters wheel, they always made coils and they smooth those pots to the point that they look absolutely perfectly symmetrical. ... The pottery technique for pottery is coil for the most part across the nation, but the technique of decorating is different from Eastern Woodlands; and in this area, Native Americans used impressed designs and instead of a slip decoration or a black on black and in the Southwest they used both the black on black and the polychrome.”
She said campers who participated in this week’s camp showed more than enthusiasm.
“Some of the kids really take to the clay and some of them really love to draw, but there’s a good bit of talent going on here,” Amos said.
Cooney explained how she and fellow campers came about choosing their design for their pots.
“We went to the museum and looked at designs of the pots that the Native Americans sent in and we sort of copied those,” Cooney said. “There’s not a specific name for [my design] but it’s mostly shapes like triangles, squares and that sort of stuff. ... I thought that it looked cool and you could tell it was a Native American design.”
She said the camp was a fun and educational experience.
“I really like making things and I really like Native Americans, but I like getting my hands dirty mostly,” Cooney said.