Wednesday, November 5, 2014

An Orchid in a Coffee Mug

Recently I spent a Saturday with my 16 year old grandson Tristan. He had an assignment to create a short memoir of someone in his life who is not a parent or sibling. It also required that he create an artwork that would describe the memoir. The artwork could be a poem, a song, an essay, a drawing, a painting or a sculpture. The only requirement was that the "artwork" be able to tell a story of a memory from that person's life.

 Since I am his grandma and an artist I would be perfect for the assignment. As you can imagine the field of art that Tristan and I chose to do together was sculpture.

One of his questions to me was  "What was your life like as a young adult?". Funny, looking back that many years (50 years) sent to me, via the way-back machine, to my last year of high school and how I met his grandpa.
As I remembered out loud he and I sculpted first a simple coffee mug to highlight my time as a waitress and the orchid was a reminder of my life as a teenager living with my father in my grandmother's home in Florida.

The memoir was supposed to, if possible, start with a less than happy event ending with a good event or conclusion. I won't go into all the details here  as Tristan is writing the memoir to go with his artwork so I'll wait until after he has presented the project at school.

We spent the next few hours together talking, laughing, and playing in clay. As you can imagine, remembering back 50 years was not a smooth cohesive telling, but a gathering of my memories whilst speaking with him. While we were talking we began sculpting the two elements that would reflect on my story. Elements needed to be unique enough that, when he would show them in class, he could easily identify and tell about his grandma, Penni Jo's, young adult memoir.

We started by sculpting first the easier of the two projects, the mug. He followed directions very very well and did a great job with his coffee mug. The next item, the orchid, was taught to him in simple steps and, as you can see by the image, he did a most wonderful job with his first sculpted orchid.  He also had a great time with the Mica powders used to give shine and shimmer to the orchid and orchid leaf.

By the time in our coffee mugs with orchids in them were baking in the oven he had a good time line of the events and could tell me the story of the orchid in the mug

Truly it was a most wonderful afternoon making new memoirs with my grandson.
Penni Jo


Chris Crossland said...

What a delightful story and a delightful way to spend time with your grandson. Now he will have a much richer understanding of you and that is worth it all! Thanks for sharing this with us. Hugs, Chris

Viktoria Hart said...

Tristan's teacher stopped me outside of school last week. He has, indeed, presented his memoir!
She spoke of his understanding, and talent. She also said, "He is one of the few who really understood the assignment, and actually got out of it what I was hoping" She wanted the students to have a genuine interaction with a removed generation. Then she added "His mug with the orchid was so beautiful!" she wanted to know if he really did all that himself, and I said, "Yes, he certainly did, and he has talent... But you don't understand: my mom is a FABULOUS teacher!"
I thought you'd like to know that you two hit that one out of the park. In 20 years, this will be the assignment he tells his kids about. Maybe I'll be talking to my grandson over an art project and recall how I met Tristan's dad......

Penni Jo AKA Claylady43 said...

Chris, thank you so much. Yes, a delightful time.
Penni Jo

Penni Jo AKA Claylady43 said...

Thanks for the great news!! Whilst working with him, I could tell he was getting a very firm grasp and guided me as we put the memoir together.
Love you all.