Family Night Workshop at Minwaashin Lodge

Wow! What a night! Absolute Fabulous Chaos! After having previously made the acquaintance of a lovely man, Howard Adler, we decided it would be great to hold a Clay Project workshop on Family Night at Minwaashin Lodge. Great it was!

Howard Adler, an Indigenous Film Maker Extraordinaire and Artist in General, runs a handful of Art Nights throughout the year on Family Night at Minwaashin Lodge, which are very popular with the community. The way the evening usually runs is first everyone shares a dinner together and then Howard sets up his workshop and people begin as they are finished eating. Well, I learned a very valuable lesson tonight, my usual laisser-faire attitude doesn't always work very well! Thank goodness Howard was there to help me, because I found it very difficult to demonstrate all the steps involved in making and designing a clay tile to 18 or so people all at different times! Also, without the film and discussion at the beginning of the workshop, I felt we lacked a centering and proper understanding of the importance of clay in our modern and traditional communities. In any case, we had fun and many many wonderful tiles were made for the mural...

 abstract art at its best! Photo credit: Howard Adler

abstract art at its best! Photo credit: Howard Adler

 great idea! Photo credit: Howard Adler

great idea! Photo credit: Howard Adler

 rolling out the clay....Photo credit: Howard Adler

rolling out the clay....Photo credit: Howard Adler

 cutting out the tile shape from the template. Photo credit: Howard Adler

cutting out the tile shape from the template. Photo credit: Howard Adler

 I love this tile, it is so full of thought! Photo credit: Howard Adler 

I love this tile, it is so full of thought! Photo credit: Howard Adler 

 Kanien'keha:ka means People of the Flint (also known as Mohawk People) The middle design is the Iroquois Confederacy symbol, Haudenosaunee, also known as 6 Nations Confederacy.  Shono:rase means The New Root, the Mohawk name of the tile maker. Photo credit: Howard Adler

Kanien'keha:ka means People of the Flint (also known as Mohawk People) The middle design is the Iroquois Confederacy symbol, Haudenosaunee, also known as 6 Nations Confederacy.  Shono:rase means The New Root, the Mohawk name of the tile maker. Photo credit: Howard Adler

 The Hiawatha Wampum Belt 

The Hiawatha Wampum Belt 

 The Medicine Wheel and the Four Directions. Photo credit: Howard Adler

The Medicine Wheel and the Four Directions. Photo credit: Howard Adler

The Medicine Wheel and the Four Directions is a very popular symbol in First Nations modern and traditional life. Many tile makers were inspired to put their own version of this symbol on their Clay Project tile. According to the website, Native Voices

The Medicine Wheel has been used by generations of various Native American tribes for health and healing. It embodies the Four Directions, as well as Father Sky, Mother Earth, and Spirit Tree—all of which symbolize dimensions of health and the cycles of life.
Movement in the Medicine Wheel and in Native American ceremonies is circular, and typically in a clockwise, or “sun-wise” direction. This helps to align with the forces of Nature, such as gravity and the rising and setting of the Sun.
Different tribes interpret the Medicine Wheel differently. Each of the Four Directions (East, South, West, and North) is typically represented by a distinctive color, such as black, red, yellow, and white, which for some stands for the human races.
The Directions can also represent:  Stages of life: birth, youth, adult (or elder), death/ Seasons of the year: spring, summer, winter, fall/ Aspects of life: spiritual, emotional, intellectual, physical/ Elements of nature: fire (or sun), air, water, earth/ Animals: Eagle, Bear, Wolf, Buffalo, many others/ Ceremonial plants: tobacco, sweet grass, sage, cedar