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Digging into imagination with clay

Children learned to make a clay pinch pot at a demonstration by Pied Potter Rick Hamelin on

July 10 at the Mendon Senior Center. The presentation was part of this year's summer reading program

'Dig Into Reading!," at Taft Public Library.

Taft Public Library patrons "dug" into clay at a pottery presentation by Pied Potter Rick Hamelin on July 10. A special event that was part of this year's summer reading program 'Dig Into Reading!,' over 40 children and their parents attended the show held at the Mendon Senior Center.

Hamelin, a local artist who has been potting since 1976, spoke about the history and legends of pottery and pottery makers, and described the different types of clay and what types of clay could be found in Massachusetts. While speaking about the background of clay and pottery, Hamelin used an electric pottery wheel, which he called his "instrument," to demonstrate different pottery techniques. Bowls, cups, and pots were quickly transformed from lumps of clay with just his hands. The audience guessed at what he was creating as it took shape on the pottery wheel. Hamelin also made a teapot, a chicken, and a dragon during the hour-and-a-half long demonstration, which he donated to the library for all of the patrons to enjoy.

"When you make pots, you 'dig' into your imagination," said Hamelin. Hamelin also talked about all of the books that he read in order to help him become better at his craft. "If you want to be a creative person, you need to build confidence. You do that by reading and learning," he said.

Audience members were able to touch the creations as they were passed around before receiving their own clay to make a pinch pot by hand under Hamelin's guidance. Young potters used their fingers while circulating their piece of clay in order to form a small pinch pot that they were able to take home with them.

Taft Children's Librarian Lisa Stratton was very impressed with the presentation. "I thought that the demonstration went very well; he did a fabulous job," Stratton said of Hamelin.

Over 200 children have signed up for this year's summer reading program, 'Dig into Reading!,' which encourages children of all ages to read during summer vacation, and has included fun events such as a mime show, a magic show, and a cardboard boat race so far. Upcoming events for the summer reading program include the Annual Worm Race on August 6 (pre-registration required); and the End of Summer Celebration on August 21. For more information on these events contact the Taft Public Library at 508-473-3259.


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