TRURO — Teaching a pottery class to young artists at Castle Hill took Isabel Souza “full circle,” she says. “I was eight or nine when I got the scholarship to take a class at Castle Hill through the Truro school.”
Souza knows a teacher’s influence can be life-changing. “My high school teacher could tell that I was very serious about pottery, and she encouraged me to apply to art school, which I did,” she says. After earning a B.F.A. at Syracuse University, she moved back to Truro, where she grew up, and has been working as a ceramic artist since then.
It’s a calling that’s in her blood, she says. “I discovered that my great-great-grandfather operated a ceramic rooftop factory in Portugal,” she says. She plans to open a shop on Wellfleet’s Main Street in the spring.
The photos here were taken during a class that wrapped up on Nov. 16. It was one of an ongoing series for children in grades 3 to 5 by the Truro Center for the Arts at Castle Hill through Dec. 21. The classes are part of Castle Hill’s “Grow” program, says Laura Chause, the coordinator, which stands for “gratitude, respect, optimism, and wonder.” The classes are designed to allow students to explore and create projects that incorporate both science and art.
Other teachers include Michael Giaquinto, who is teaching collage and mixed media; fiber artist Heidi Filmer-Gallagher is teaching felting; Mary Abt explores music’s tones and frequencies; and with Kim Possee students will make candles. Thanks to funding from the state, Chause says, classes cost only $10.
For Souza, teaching children is a new adventure. “I love how they take risks and they don’t feel badly if their projects don’t work out perfectly,” she says.
Working with clay, “I feel like an earth bender,” says Sofi Blandford, one of Souza’s pottery students, who lives in Wellfleet. “It’s like a superpower: You can make anything you want with clay. It can be big, it can be tiny, as long as it doesn’t explode in the kiln.”