Summer vacation flashback

Losing my cool, finding myself at art camp

Losing my cool, finding myself at art camp

September 04, 2007|By ALEXANDRA CANTONE

Creating art is a form of expressing yourself - a way to be yourself no matter what the public thinks.

On July 9, I went to "Something Earthy," a two-week art camp in Damascus, Md. My good friend Sarah Ganassa's aunt owns the studio at which the camp took place. Sarah's family invited both Sarah and me to stay at their house for the two weeks.

Throughout the camp, we learned many things, from centering clay on the wheels to creating tabletop fountains.

The first day, I walked through the door and saw a very tranquil setting. There was a fountain going and many works of art all around. We were told that we would start with pottery. I had never used a pottery wheel before.

First we were taught how to center clay on the wheel. The wheel is a clay-working desk with a spinning, round plate connected to a larger concrete wheel that spins when you push on a pedal. The spinning wheel makes the plate spin. To begin, you mold your clay into a ball, then slam it down in the center of the plate, then spin the plate and form the clay into bowls or cups.


I grasped my clay firmly in my hand and slammed it. I noticed that it didn't look as if it were perfectly centered on the round surface, but I figured it would be fine. So, I started the wheel slowly and used some water to soften the clay. I worried about the clay wobbling and off-center on the wheel. The clay wasn't hitting both of my hands at the same time. It kind of went back and forth. I concluded it needed to be centered exactly, so I asked for some help.

Linda Philips, the artist who taught the class, came to the rescue. She told me to apply more power to the pedal, and that's when the ruckus began. I applied my foot to the pedal and she said to apply a little more pressure. Well, apparently I put too much pressure on the pedal because the clay flew off the plate and went everywhere. The worst part was that Ms. Philips was leaning over the clay, so she was covered.

I quickly slowed the wheel down and we both started laughing. I apologized and she said it was fine.

After that, everything went smoothly. I centered the clay correctly and then began to mold it into the bowl that would eventually be the bottom of my tabletop fountain. The bowl came out looking very nice. I was happy, and, after my bad beginning, I was actually one of the first students done.

So, it came time to start the next project on the wheel. We made a tall vaselike shape that later became a face, with eyes, nose, mouth and ears, as well as some kind of turban.

In the art camp, I made many different projects as well as many friends. During the two weeks, I completed 20 projects, including a braided-wire bracelet, a fish-themed tabletop fountain, a glass vase etched with the image of a rose ,and a stained-glass bird bath.

The whole experience was definitely wonderful. I explored my love of art and fulfilled all my goals. I did experience challenges, because I always would try to go above and beyond. I would always picture something very difficult and then try to create something to fit that picture in my mind. Some things were hard to make, but I just kept working on it until I became satisfied, even if it wasn't as picturesque as my imagination.

In the end, the experience reminded me of something Henri Matisse, the French painter, said: "Truth and reality in art do not arise until you no longer understand what you are doing and are capable of but nevertheless sense a power that grows in proportion to your resistance."

Safety class for teen drivers

A free safety class for teen drivers and their parents will be held at the Washington County Sheriff's Office on Saturday, Oct. 13, from noon until 4 p.m.

Teens and their parents will hear presentations on auto insurance, the graduated licensing system, and laws that affect new drivers, among other topics.

The class is free and will be held at the Washington County Sheriff's Office Patrol Building, 500 Western Maryland Parkway.

To register, contact Deputy Carly Hose at 240-313-2195 or go online to and fill out an application.

About the writer: Alexandra Cantone, 12, is an eighth-grader at Montessori Academy in Chambersburg, Pa.

The Herald-Mail Articles