Prince Edward County’s Newspaper of Record
April 21, 2024
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March 27, 2024

Craft Academy

County Arts explores new kinds of vocational training
<p>Youth Craft Academy students (From Left) Lauren Fleck, Emmet Doldersum, Haimish Hunter, Lucas Pomorski, and Escher El Badawi. (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)</p>
Youth Craft Academy students (From Left) Lauren Fleck, Emmet Doldersum, Haimish Hunter, Lucas Pomorski, and Escher El Badawi. (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)
Youth Craft Academy participant Haimish Hunter under the watchful eye of instructor Katrina Tompkins. (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)

The students in a new County Arts craft program are eagerly awaiting better weather so they can test their new creations at the local skatepark.

Even if they never grind a rail or complete a kick flip with it, a homemade skateboard is pretty cool as a piece of functional art.

A half-dozen young artists participated in the new Youth Craft Academy. Last week, they were busy putting the finishing touches on their skateboards under the direction of woodworker Katrina Tompkins at the County Arts Lab. The program for those aged 13-16 launched last fall with two introductory courses. In addition to the skateboard project, students worked on clay vessels and other objects with Ceramicist Andrea Piller.

As for the skateboards, students have been working on them for six weeks, starting with flat veneer and using vacuum bag technology to create a form.

“The students used woodworking tools to shape the outsides of the board and then sanded their hearts out to make them smooth,” said Ms. Tompkins. 

With the painting and finishing completed, students drilled holes and attached trucks to the decks.

The Youth Craft Academy is presented in partnership with Rue Pigalle, a community for women makers and patrons of craft. 

The Academy not only builds fundamental skills and a sense of confidence through expert guidance from local fine craft artists, it also offers a unique opportunity to explore the potential of a career in the arts.

Emmet Doldersum with his creation. (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)

County Arts Director Janna Smith noted fine craft education and creation can be very costly due to the need for specialized materials and tools as well as in-depth instruction. To ensure the program is available to all, 75 per cent of the fees are covered by the Lewitt Family Foundation and Rue Pigalle. Bursaries are also available to cover the remainder.

 “The accessibility of our programs — especially our offerings for children and young people — is of utmost importance to County Arts, and we are so thankful to Isabelle Fish of Rue Pigalle, the Rue Pigalle members, and the Lewitt Family Foundation for helping us bring this special program to our community,” said Ms. Smith.

Registration is open for the spring session. Participants will learn to create bowls, jewellery, and more through glass fusing techniques taught by Glass Artist Kirei Samuel. There will be field visits to local studios. No experience is required. 

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