“Chaka what’s this called? Is it a rasper?” asks Molly Trickett one of the youth attendees of Chaka Chikodzi’s stone sculpting class at Haliburton School of Art and Design.
Molly is at HSAD learning from the Zimbabwean-Canadian artist during a weeklong class.
Chikodzi looks at the file-shaped tool nods and smiles.
“What’s this one called?” asks another student holding up a flat metal plate wrapped in cloth.
It’s a chisel the instructor tells her but not one you can find in a store. Chikodzi made it himself out of a metal blade he bought and ground the teeth off. He holds up another chisel he refined from an old car spring. He heated it up straightened it and filed a sharp end.
Dust flies through the air as the small group of students file and hammer at lumps of rock into the shape of ducks and turtles otters and starfish on Thursday July 13. Some students are sanding the surface smooth while others are chipping away at their rock trying to bring out the form they know lurks underneath.
Thanks to Ontario Arts Council funding Chikodzi is able to bring in about 30 tons of volcanic stone a year from his native Zimbabwe. The rock is a crucial part of his art practice and the students at HSAD are using pieces in their works.
Around the corner a father and two sons work on two projects: a bear and a dolphin. Sean Charlton decided to create a bear after his father John. The family is visiting the Highlands from Toronto and John said he thought he’d tag along to help his sons out. Christian uses a dremel rotary tool to smooth the skin of the dolphin he’s working on while Sean glues on part of the bear that inadvertently fell off while he was chipping away the rock.
Every year HSAD offers a wide range of courses for young people. While the stone carving class is the more traditional summer art class you can find young people spread out around the Haliburton campus and at J.D. Hodgson Elementary School in town learning playing and putting their creativity into practice throughout the summer.
A few metres from the hammering and chipping inside one of the classroom spaces the sounds of summer change to clicking and tapping as the students in the animation class make their short films under the instruction of Tammy Rea. The program is for youth ages 11 to 17 and the full range of ages is represented.
Eleven-year-old Izzy Hill has created a claymation piece called Twist which Rea affectionately calls Revenge of the Squeaky Toy. Izzy’s story of a toy that’s had enough of its canine oppressors is short and funny and incredibly well executed. Rea watches over her shoulder as she gives a preview to a visiting reporter. The project is nearly complete – it just needs one transitional tweak to make the story flow.
Haylie Puritch has taken inspiration from Pes’s Fresh Guacamole stop animation. Her film shows her making a pizza using household items as toppings. Rea said the class was taught using free software or software that schools usually have and equipment that most people can get access to or have at home such as iPad tablets.
In another classroom older students work on animated shorts using Flash. Zack Williams of Haliburton and Aron Guslits of London Ont. are each working on their parts of the film based on puns.
“We have a whole range of ages this year” Rea said which allows for mentorship of the younger kids by the older students. There’s also a balance of boys and girls.
Students work with stop motion animation claymation CGI the list goes on.
Over at JDHES a younger group is getting creative with recycled materials and the inspiration of farm life.
Instructor Toni Caldarone led an afternoon session last week with a group of kids ages four to six who focused on farm life. Using paper towel tubes bits of fake fur lace paint blocks and all kinds of arts and crafts materials the children created their farm animals.
Caldarone said many of the kids were in the Highlands at the cottage either with their parents or more often their grandparents who also took classes at the college.
Shelley Schell at HSAD said the mix of youth and adult programs throughout the summer allows for the whole family to engage creatively.
“It’s a great setting for inter-generational experiences because there’s so much choice” she said. “Each family member goes their own way to their course in the morning but can meet at lunch and return to the cottage or home at the end of the day and their respective experiences becomes a topic of conversation.”
There are three more weeks of summer classes at HSAD and one additional teen/youth course at the end of August Schell said. You can register for the class right up until the day it starts as long as spaces are still available.
(To register earlier you can ask the college to add you to their mailing list or check the website starting the third week of February. Registration starts March 1).
To download the summer course list go to flemingcollege.ca/school/haliburton-school-of-art-and-design or call 705-457-1680.