This pilot project, which took place in Ibi, in the province of Alicante, Spain, was carried out over the course of two extended workshops.

Ceramics workshop: “Manetes”

Workshop participants rolling ceramic clay

In this workshop, an activity on ceramics took place.

The participants were seated around a table and, in the centre, Sonia, the ceramics art educator, introduced herself and talked about her professional career together with her daughter, who was her assistant at all times.

The aim was to freely create objects such as plates, pots, jugs, decorative objects… Sonia explained the technique of ceramics, the tools to be used, why it is important, its benefits for physical and mental health and, of course, its creative side. To create the right atmosphere, relaxing music was played during the whole process of creation.

The workshop participants created their artwork, while Sonia, attentive at all times, answered any questions. It was noticeable that people had already practiced this technique, that they had skills, or that they simply liked to create: they were calm, happy and absorbed in their work. The involvement of the participants was at its maximum.

Some of the products made during the workshop

Their impressions were very positive. They think that these activities are necessary for all audiences and that they should be carried out more often. Some participants were very interested in the subject and, at the end, they even bought ceramics in the shop to give to their family and friends.

At the end, they were invited to a small snack as a token of appreciation for attending the workshop. All in all, a creative and enriching experience for everyone.

Meet the art educator… Sonia

We could say that she is a person "Passionate about Art".

She studied in Alcoy, in the School of Arts and Crafts, something she dreamed of doing since she was a child, as this is her vocation. She began to develop in the art world knowing and practicing the plastic arts, she has been forged through a wide range of artistic disciplines such as painting in various techniques, oil, acrylic, watercolour, illustration…. She loves photography, everything has a special charm to immortalize.

Thanks to the opportunity she had to buy a small kiln for firing ceramics, she is focused on experimenting with the "Art of ceramics", a discipline in which she is enthusiastic and strong.

Her main qualities are "Love for Art", "Artistic Vision", everything she sees around her, from a cloud, a mountain, a dry or flowering tree, an insect… "has its beauty", we could say that she is "Passionate about life" who tries to squeeze every detail out of it, a virtue that makes her belong to the guild of "purebred artists".

Autumn workshop: “Reading and ceramics”

Participants engaged in creating during the second workshop

In this workshop, two activities were carried out: one on reading and the other on ceramics.

To breal the ice, the participants were seated around a table and, in the centre, the art educator on literature introduced herself and talked about her professional career.

She then showed the book she was going to present, La carabassa Tomasa. It is a book about the popular culture and traditions of the area and is suitable for all audiences. It contains a popular history, a brief description of the beginnings of the pumpkin, a related game and some typical recipes to make with this ingredient. At the end of the book there is also a vocabulary in the Valencian language to learn popular words of the area.

Participants with Xaro Rosario, art educator for literature

During the reading of the book, using improvisation and dramatization, the different situations were explained. There were faces of surprise and surprise, especially from the young people, because there were words, phrases or popular sayings that they did not know; the older people, however, showed joy and satisfaction to see that they had knowledge about it. It was a transformative learning experience to see how older people explained to young people what they did not understand, as well as giving them information about what life was like before and the differences with today. It was important and very rewarding too, bringing people of different ages and points of view together.

When the narration was finished, the book was commented on: whether they liked it or not, how they felt… most of them said that they liked it a lot and that they wanted more.

Afterwards, Sonia, the art educator on ceramics, presented and explained what they were going to do with the ceramics. The idea was to create a clay pumpkin like the main character of the book. She briefly explained the technique of pottery, the tools to be used, why it is important, the benefits for physical and mental health and, of course, the creative part. To create the right atmosphere, there was relaxing music during the whole process of creation.

María Rosario (Xaro), the art educator for literature.

The participants in the workshop began to create their artwork, while Sonia, attentive at all times, answered any questions. It was noticeable that the people who had already practiced this technique, had more skills, or simply liked to create, and were calm, happy and absorbed in their work. On the other hand, there were people who were more hesitant, thinking that they didn’t know how to create, that this wasn’t their thing and that it would surely turn out badly. Thanks to the confidence they were given, in the end they all enjoyed themselves. The activity ended with a snack and traditional sweets for the participants.

Their impressions, when we asked them, were that they enjoyed it very much. They think that these activities are necessary for all audiences and that they should be done more often.

These activities can be very productive by introducing them in neighbourhood communities, associations, schools, institutes, etc. The books can be very varied and on different themes (Christmas, Easter, the seasons…), without losing their roots in popular culture, oral tradition, and traditional customs, so that young people have knowledge and learn by interacting with older people and that this is their source of information as well. For young people, it is a way to enrich themselves intellectually and to socialise, leaving aside, for a while, the new technologies and, for older people, especially those who live alone, it is a way to leave home, to relate, to feel useful and to contribute their knowledge, wisdom and experience to this society. For older people who have not been able to go to school, or have done so for only a short period of time, these types of activities are very rewarding as part of lifelong learning.

Participants making ceramics during the second workshop

Those of us who have carried out these activities have observed and, above all, have been surprised by the capacity and desire to learn of all the participants.

Knowing and letting others know about our roots, maintaining them, promoting art in all its aspects, imagination, creativity, socialising, empathising, through workshops and activities, are fundamental to progress as a society.

Meet the art educator… María Rosario

María Rosario (Xaro) was born in Beniarrés, a small village near the province of Alicante in Spain. She is an early childhood educator and president of the Associació Educativa i Cultural Bluebeehive. She works in the association on various Erasmus projects and organising creative and inclusive workshops, on equality, gender violence, inclusion and volunteering, as well as other topics, at local and county level.

She spends her time reading and writing children's stories, comics, poetry, narrative, without losing the perspective of customs, traditions, the popular knowledge of the elderly, the experiences and, in short, the roots of the people, her greatest inspiration. She has published three children's stories and gives presentations, reading activities and workshops in schools, associations and cultural centres. Occasionally, she also participates in literary gatherings. Today she continues to write for all audiences.