Leanna Carlson is a ceramic artist that has been working with clay and studying the science of it for over 25 years. She runs a successful teaching studio in Prince George, BC. She has shown her work in the U.S. and China, and is an international award winning artist. For Leanna, the materials themselves are an important part of her expression.
Leanna Carlson is an exemplary instructor and very knowledgeable in her field. The high-risk alternate students Leanna taught for a 6 week program felt welcomed into her studio; she boosted their confidence and maintained an atmosphere of collaboration and calmness. Leanna demonstrated techniques to build a number of different hand-built pottery pieces. She was patient and able to clearly communicate and demonstrate the new skills to the students. Leanna has a way of connecting and teaching that holds teens' interest. She has a wealth of knowledge about pottery, where it comes from, the science behind it, and the history. The pottery pieces were beautiful when finished and everyone learned a great deal about how it all comes together. Caitlin Nicholson, Teacher, Center for Learning Alternatives - TAPS program.
I have been a classroom teacher for twenty years and Leanna's ability to demonstrate how to work with clay is inspiring. She is kind, caring and passionate about helping each student. This is not an easy task but she makes it look easy. Her knowledge of clay is extensive and she is able to provide just enough background information to lure her students into creating something personal and artistic while gaining skill in working with a challenging medium. Leanna is an asset to the clay community in Prince George and BC. Anne Saar, Teacher, School District 57
A 12 session program that we implemented in a Grade 4/5 classroom at Ron Brent Elementary School in Prince George BC. Two of the sessions included very unique field trips. The first trip was to a local river to dig clay. The final field trip was to Leanna's back yard "primitive fire pit" to fire some of the pottery. The project was an opportunity to instruct students on the science and applications involved in making items out of clay, ranging from the initial harvesting of natural clay, the use of tools, and glazing and firing. It also takes a global approach by examining the history and techniques of clay-use from four distinct cultures. Ron Brent Elementary is an inner-city school that draws from an economically-challenged neighbourhood and has a high proportion of Indigenous students. The project was developed collaboratively by Leanna Carlson (Potter / Clay Artist), Stacey Kelsh (Grade 4/5 Teacher - Ron Brent Elementary School), Nancy Alexander (School Counsellor - Ron Brent Elementary School) and Sean Farrell (Executive Director - Community Arts Council of Prince George & District). The project also included an Aboriginal cultural component which was supported by staff from the School District 57 Aboriginal Education Department.
Our focus was to explore the ceramic arts and the history of pottery design both aesthetically and practically for food preparation within different cultures. Under the guidance of local potter/artist Leanna Carlson, and a Lheidli T'enneh Nation's community knowledge keeper, youth first explored the local area's history of and evolution of food culture and the introduction of clay objects and clay making into the area. Secondly, students explored the making of clay vessels from cultures around the world and their use in food preparation. Each student created a clay vessel related to one of the cultures they studied in consultation and under the guidance of the artist, Leanna Carlson. At the end of the project, students, potter, teacher and volunteer staff will host a feast for school community preparing dishes within the cultural food style of the nation of their clay vessel. This program was designed for the Transitional Alternate Program Secondary Program (TAPS) at the College of New Caledonia in Prince George, BC. The TAPS program provides services for students at the senior high school level who, despite planned interventions, can no longer be accommodated within the mainstream school system. The program also accepts students who have already dropped out of school and may not, for various reasons, re-enter the mainstream system.
This project is evolved from our 2018 highly successful AIC funded project designed for ACP senior programs at the Center For Learning Alternatives in Prince George, B.C. ACP programs provide services for students who despite planned interventions, can no longer be accommodated within the mainstream school system. Student explored identity through personal, family, and community relationships using the medium of clay and pottery techniques. They explored ceramic arts and the history of pottery design aesthetically as it contributes to our sense of identity and our place in the world historically and today. Under my guidance, the youth will first explored clay making techniques and viewed a number of clay examples of objects as a form of cultural and personal identity. We also took the opportunity to explore how clay is made into a usable form for the kiln. The students created the first clay object as it related to a group decision based on exploring identity. We visited with local indigenous knowledge holders during the workshop sessions and shared stories around the topic of identity. Students then had the opportunity to examine their own identity and brainstorm a design that demonstrates their identity as it relates to themselves, their family and or their community relationships. At the end of the project, students, artist, teachers and volunteer staff hosted a celebration feast displaying their work for school community.