Conestogo: Many hands

This week I received some unexpected help in the 100 mile ART Project: About 40 grade-seven students from Laurentian Hills Christian School in Kitchener!

On Tuesday and Thursday of this week Mrs. Lisa Eelkema and Mrs. Shirley Huinink brought their students on a field trip out to Conestogo to collect some river rocks and then afterwards create paint from those very samples. In both cases we met down by the Conestogo River and, after showing a couple of examples to the class, all the students were let loose to find their own colourful rocks. Some collected a few pristine specimens while others were inclined to carry the small boulders they had found, but everyone had fun looking.
After this, with their rocks in hand, we hiked back to my studio. Step by step we washed, crushed, sieved and mulled our rocks. And, in the end, we ended up with some very good pigment samples. All told, we created five quite distinct tones.
Finally we mixed the pigment with our egg-yolk binder and, voilà, we had paint. Each student then experimented with their afternoon’s work by painting something on the large table in my studio. This was good for expediency’s sake, but of course the same colours they created could have just as easily be used to create watercolour, oil and acrylic paints or crayons, pastels or pottery glazes, etc.

Many of the students were kind enough to leave me with some of their left-over pigment and this means that I am suddenly ahead of schedule for processing Conestogo pigments!

So, what did the student’s think? Mrs. Eelkema was good enough to share a few comments with me and my favourite was, “Best field trip ever!” I’m glad they had such a good time and hope a few will come and see their pigment in it’s final form at the exhibition. As one student remarked, “Rock on!”.

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