Every year the Steel Yard hosts a weeklong Summer Camp Program for young folks ages 14 to 18. In addition to our Camp Metalhead, this year we were totally psyched to introduce two new programs, Camp Clayhead where students could get their hands dirty in our ceramics department and Camp Copperhead to explore the jewelry arts! This year’s Summer camps were made possible by the City of Providence- Dexter Donation Trust, Whole Foods and Seven Stars Bakery and Cox Communications.
The Summer Camps were facilitated by Liz Potenza (Metals), Jane Dillon (Ceramics) and Heather Guidero (Jewelry). This phenomenal trio spent the week with 15 amazing, talented, creative and committed students exploring the fire arts and assisting them creating their own personal projects. On graduation day- students, instructors, parents and staff gathered together to take show each other what they all were able to accomplish in just 5 short days including earrings, thrown pots dragons and llama heads!
Our students in Camp Metal Head spent the week ripping through steel with gas torches and fusing them back together with a 10,000° electrical arc! Each student was introduced and was able to experiment with the MIG welder, the oxygen-acetylene torch, various metal saws, and grinders to heat, cut, join, bend, and polish steel. By the end of the week these industrious artists fabricated all sorts of things like chairs, sculptures, chest plates and a World War II inspired mask!
Camp Copper Head students Students spent the week sawing, filing, soldering, scoring/bending, texturing, forming, linkages, wire construction and were able to produce some highly sophisticated AND fun pieces. Students walked away from the camp with custom bracelets, earrings, a spoon and some beautiful abstract three-dimensional forms.
“I really enjoyed working with this age group and was really impressed in how they quickly they all picked up on soldering and the power tools, but safely!” Said Heather Guidero. She went on to explain why this Camp is so significant to her and other artists, “I really want to get the word out there- jewelry can be a metal art form- not just beads and wire wrapping!”
In the Ceramics Studio we had one of the largest classes plugging away, spinning pots and cups and exploring the myriad techniques lead by Jane Dillon. Camp Clayhead students explored both hand building and wheel throwing processes and were instructed on a new technique each day. Pots, plates, cups, bowls, rattles literally covered the work shop table at the end of camp- evidence that students not only made pieces but went above and beyond and kept making! “The focus and dedication of this group was phenomenal!” Jane Dillon exclaimed, noting that from day one to five the folks came in ready to learn and ready to make. “One week is a very short to fit a full introduction to ceramics, with two rounds of firing in the kilns and two rounds of glazing it’s definitely a process that takes time but this group was ready!”
In addition to walking away with some pretty rad skills and new friends, every student who went through the three programs now qualify for our Open Studios here at the Yard, FREE OF CHARGE! Open Studio participants have access to the same tools and equipment we use in welding, blacksmithing, and jewelry classes; including MIG welders, ARC welders, use of the forges and blacksmithing tools, oxyacetylene torches, grinders, a metal chop saw, horizontal band saw, and many small hand tools.