Friday, June 28, 2013

A Final Day for the Ages

Well our camp concluded yesterday and what a final day it was.  We spent the whole day out in the sun at Fry Family Farm's Ashland farm.  We walked, we learned, we sketched, we weeded, and we harvested.  We even managed to find time for some rock skipping in Bear Creek.

Steve Fry met us out at the farm and started our day with a tour of the grounds.  We learned about the soil at this farm and how it relates to the rest of the valley.  Steve told us about his mission to constantly rid the farm of weeds that draw bugs in and compete with his plants.  This is no easy task in this organic soil.  The kids got excited about weed eradication and jumped right into helping Steve do some serious weeding!  Eventually we went on a harvesting mission finding and picking things that would be good for a fresh salad.  We picked kale, chard, spinach, three types of mustard greens, arugula, tot soy, baby beets, and tiny new carrots.  We found a shady spot and made the freshest salad many of us had ever eaten.  We even ate off the plates we had made out of our local clay.  Pretty neat!

Chopping Beats and Carrots for our Salad

All dressed with a Garlicy Vinaigrette

After lunch we had a very productive drawing session.  Everyone went out into the fields and was asked to sketch a close up of a plant, a person, and some kind of structure or vehicle.  Emphasis was on sketching quickly to capture the moment and then refining or adding color latter.  Everyone jumped right in; we sketched for almost an hour and a half and all agreed that the time just flew by.  The sketches turned out great, these kids have a lot of talent.  We spent the last half hour of camp in the shade by Bear Creek, relaxing, skipping rocks, and touching up sketches.  It was a very nice finish to our time together.

Sketching Chard

Sketching in the Flower Greenhouse

Very Focused on some Lupine

This camp was really a fantastic experience.  If the students learned half as much as I did then it was a great success.  We could not have done this without some great kids that were a true pleasure to spend my days with throughout the week.  I also want to thank those at the Schneider Museum who helped us out especially Holly Kilpatrick, Robin Strangfeld for great generosity in letting us use her studio, our high school volunteers Quinn and Grace, and Josh Weigang for his knowledge and time.  I also want to recognize all our guest instructors who helped bring all the peices of this puzzle together: Sarah Red-Larid for telling us about bees, Slaid Sappora for the geology lesson, Betty LaDuke for her telling us about her art, and finally Steve and the crew at Fry Family Farm for opening their farm up to us.  

Thank you all so much, this was a treat!


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Day 3 - Geology and Art

We are now on the downhill slope with camp but today was as great as the last.  We put a ton of new stuff in our brains today and managed to stay on our feet right to the end.  Today was the most classroom like of any of the days but we managed to have a ton of fun thanks to some great contributions from some stellar guests.

We started off today with a geology lesson from Slaid Sappora.  It was metaphors galore as we learned about how our valley and mountains were formed, the rocks that make them up, and how this all relates to clay and farm soil.  We sorted rocks, had peanuts, peanut butter, and cookies of multiple varieties all as part of the lesson.  The world really is an amazing place and Slaid painted a fantastic picture for us.

Part of our Interactive Geologic Formation Demonstration

Sorting Rocks

After our morning session with Slaid and a nice long, casual lunch we let some energy out with a little walk to Glenwood Park where we ran around a bit and did some serious tree identification.  This was a much needed break despite to sporadic rain and general humid conditions.

Shelter Under the Big Walnut Tree

We finished the day at the Museum where we were lucky enough to have Betty LaDuke in person to talk to us about her work.  Betty is full of interesting stories and we all really enjoyed hearing about her process and inspiration.  And what wonderful work, so full of color and life.  This retrospective show is a treat.  We spent the last part of class talking on our own about Betty's work and how we each interpreted some of the pieces.  It was so enlightening to hear what the kids had to say about the art, they are so intuitive.

Breaking Down What We See

By the end of the day we were all very tired, our brains full of new data to sort.  Tomorrow we have a fun day out at Fry Family Farm to put this all together and have some fun.  Don't forget to come to the opening of Betty's show tomorrow night from 5 to 7.  You'll get a chance to ask these campers what they know about the work; prepare to be blown away!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Day 2 - Market Adventure

Today was a day full of culinary delights!  We expanded our palates and our minds as we dove head first into the world of local foods and cooking.  We also took the next steps in our ceramics repertoire by glazing our plates.  While the plates didn't behave like we wanted, we all enjoyed the process.

We started our morning by walking down to the farmer's market.  After a quick lap around to scout the scene we split into two groups and went hunting for knowledge and pizza toppings.  Students had $5 each and could pool their money to find things for pizza with an emphasis on veggies and especially veggies they had never seen or tasted.  Students were encouraged to talk to the farmers and ask them about the products and how they grew or were made.  We had to report about what they purchased, how much it cost, and where it came from.  We hauled in some loot!  A beautiful bounty of fresh local veggies, goat cheeses, and even some hummus.  I loved watching the kids interact with the people at the market and all the farmers I talked to about what we were doing were really excited they got to be a part of it.

Talking Berries

Mmmm Basil

Getting the Scoop on How Chevre is Made
After our market experience we went back to the lab to create some serious gourmet pizzas which we fired in a wood fired ceramics kiln!  But not before we chopped and sampled everything we had purchased and taught each other about where these things came from.  These were amazing pizzas, very classy, high dollar affairs made by all of us.  We had combos like: chard, arugula, zucchini, with chevre and a tomato, hummus, sauce combo.  But the overwhelming favorite was our first: tomato sauce with 3 cheeses, basil, garlic, and sweet "candy" onions.  We feasted to our hearts content on delicious, local, organic, vegetarian, food.  What could be better?  

After our feast we fought off a nap and got to glazing our plates.  We had some trouble as we are really pushing the boundaries of drying times and such.  We had some warping and cracking, but we are hopeful everything will survive our final firing.  To the credit of these amazing young people, no one seemed upset, it's all about the process and they are having a ton of fun doing it.

A Couple of Our Delicious Pizzas


More Glazing

Sketchbook Pictionary for those that Finished Early

Ready for the Kiln
Another great day!  I am so lucky to get to hang out with these great young people!  Looking forward to more adventures tomorrow.

- Sam

Monday, June 24, 2013

First Day of Camp!

     What a day we had!  First of all I must say I am such a lucky man to have a great group of young people to work with.  From the start the kids were respectful, kind to each other, easy going, and genuinely excited to be a part of our little camp.  Today was the day to get to know each other, to set the foundation for all we are going to do, and get our hands dirty in some clay.  We did accomplished these tasks with flying colors!  By the end of the day we were calling ourselves a family, and I am happy to tell you this is a family I am proud to be a part of.

     We jumped right into things today starting with some clay work led by our resident pottery guru Josh.  We were using clay dug and processed out of our very own Emigrant Lake.  We made plates to eat our salads off of when we go to the farm on Thursday.  We had enough time to get into a bit of creature building and decorative wares out of ceramics as well.

Just Getting Started
Rolling Slabs
Pressing the First Plate
     After a nice lunch we headed out to the apiary where Sarah Red-Laird opened our minds to the amazing world of bees.  I was blown away by how complex and interesting bees colonies are.  This was a favorite of many campers in our end of the day recap.  Be sure to ask them what was the most interesting thing they learned today.  I think the bee world gained some advocates today.  Even Quinn who has a self diagnosed bee phobia was impressed.

Looking for the Queen

Thanks for Bringing the Portable Hive to Share Sarah!

A Local Pollinator Does Her Work in a Beautiful Poppy
     We were caught in the rain for a little while this afternoon so we retreated to a cozy nook with a view in the Education Building and did some fun get to know you activities.  This was my favorite part.  Watching these students come alive and share their lives and even their secret useless talents was incredible.  We all listened and shared and really formed our little camp family during the rainy afternoon.

     We have an exciting day planned tomorrow with our market trip, pizza, and glazing.  Hopefully the rain holds off while we are at the farmer's market.  Cross your fingers..... and wear a coat.  

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Welcome to the Schneider Museum Youth Camp!  This blog will serve as a resource for parents, community members and anyone interested find out what we are doing daily in the camp.  I will be posting pictures, comments from students and staff, and a little run down of what we did at the end of each day.  We are really looking forward to this exciting experience and we hope you are too.

Remember we are going to the apiary on Monday so wear long pants and shirts in non dark colors, with closed toed shoes.  We'll see you Monday at 10Am!