My decision to accept an invitation from TUMO Studios was instant. Since I’ve wanted to visit Armenia for a long time, having an opportunity to combine my visit with teaching was like a dream-come-true-combination for me. few days I got this precious feeling of being home. A month of October I stayed in Yerevan passed too quickly, working every day with students who showed passion and dedication for the project, getting to know people, food, and a bit of Armenia wonderful landscape. My Yerevan story still continues through deep bonds I made with my new friends. And if another opportunity for TUMO Studios atelier leader would appear, I would gladly accept it again.
A concept of the workshop was focused on ancient Armenian goddess Anahit. The idea was first to create a biscuit fired stamp with Anahit drawing/symbol, created individually by each student, expressing her/his understanding of an essence of goddess Anahit, second to create a biscuit fired vessel form on the wheel to be used as a mold, and third to create a set of molded functional ceramic, ornamented by Anahit stamps.
On the introduction evening I’ve presented my view on creativity regarding responsibility and honesty: everything created embodies the creator and his attitude toward her/himself and the world. Creation is an imprint of who creator is, it is one of the faces “who creator is” and is showing it to the world. This awareness points to responsibility of what we create and what we wish to create, in terms of how and with what qualities we wish to contribute to the world. What do we wish to give to the world for it becomes a place we wish to inhabit? As such, the essential part of creation is an individual realization of what she stands for, believes in, which are her values, wishes and fears, and how she we wishes to contribute to the world…
Since students’ basic skills were much different, for completing the project I madewith each student an individual plan. Instead of creating mold on the wheel, some students did it hand building or they made a set of different shapes but with one overall idea which connected them in one whole.
Students used earthware, underglaze colors, engobas, and also oxides (copper, iron). They used colored and transparent glaze. Glaze firing temperature was 1050 celsius.
In one month of work, all students improved their ceramic skills and developed new. The language difference was not a big obstacle to cross, also some students turned out to be excellent translators. It was beautiful to see students showing big enthusiasm and dedication during the workshop, and many of them strongly expressed a wish for some kind of continuation. By connecting with the clay and getting to know know her more deeply, the students also connected with themselves in a different and new way.