Working with kids, from early childhood to now
Slinging mud at walls: A lovely woman named Caz Phillips just sent this photo of a project she did with a school in Sussex, UK, in 2010
Since the first edition of Dig Your Hands in the Dirt, the number of teachers slinging mud at schools has grown — probably exponentially. I would love to collect new photos and projects for the next edition. If you’re making beautiful things with kids, mud, and/or communities, please do get in touch, and/or post your project and pictures.
“Play is serious business, “as Erik Erickson said — and as anyone knows who has played their way out of childhood. What better medium than mud to restore to work our starved capacities for celebration, for joy, for sharing and cooperation — all the things that we first learned at play?
— Kiko Denzer
Cardboard dulcimers at summer Camp
Thanks to the folks at Farm and Wilderness camps, here’s a lovely video of one of the campers and his new “axe,” and more pix of music-making campers on FB, here.
To make your own, download a pdf of the book, Make a Ray Jacobs Rocky Mountain Dulcimer, here. The paper version is on sale through the HP bookstore.
My brother went to the Farm & Wilderness Camps in Vermont when he was a kid. Now his daughter is the camper, he helps out teaching woodwork. I sent him the dulcimer book, and he helped about a dozen musicians make their own instruments, not just campers, but counselors as well. I hope the idea will get passed around. The sound is so good, and they’re so easy to make. If you like it, please do share the download freely — it’s published under a creative commons license to support sharing.
Hawaiian School Garden oven
Mud ovens in Hawaii:
“These bricks, stacked and left to dry for about 2.5 weeks, are the start of a future earth oven at the campusâ€™ Ulumau School Garden. The oven will be used by HPA (Hawaii Preparatory Academy)Â students, staff and their ohana to bake breads and pizzas, as well as to cook vegetables grown on site, said Koh Ming Wei, HPAâ€™s sustainability curriculum facilitator.”
“HPA’s Hawaiian studies teacher Kuwalu Anakalea appreciated how the process included everyoneâ€™s mana. For her, the oven will serve more than tantalizing delectables. It cooks up a sense of community and value for building techniques by indigenous cultures, she said.”
New Community Oven in New Jersey
HANDS stands for Housing and Neighborhood Development Services. They work out of Orange, New Jersey to try and reclaim dilapidated houses and other “eyesore properties,” and return them to the neighborhood as affordable homes and community assets. They also work with individual people and neighborhoods, and are creating an Arts District in a former industrial area called the Valley. A recent Google Alert brought in notice of a new community oven they built, and the following story from their quarterly report:
It started as a dream idea of our Executive Director, Pat Morrissy: â€œLet’s build a community outdoor, wood fired oven where people can bring bread and pizza dough to bake together outside!â€ The idea caught on and the Earth Oven was begun. A local student of landscape architecture drew a plan, the proprietor of a brick oven pizzeria consulted on the design and a local expert on building with mud scouted the best place to dig for clay soil. The Earth Oven was built by community volunteers of all ages who have taken part in the cement mixing and pouring, constructing the base, mixing the mud with their bare feet, creating the structure with sand and building the dome.
Oven “founders,” from left, are:
Molly Rose Kaufman
For more of their marvelous story, go to