Did you know that as well as the courses the WEA offer across Lincolnshire we also provide courses for other organisations too? We currently go into settings such as day centres catering for adults with disabilities and offer courses on a range of subjects. This can offer additional benefits – health and wellbeing, social opportunities and the chance to learn something completely new and different to the student.
At Ancaster Day Centre on Boundary Street, the WEA classes are always a key part of the attendees’ week. For many years the WEA have been working in partnership to provide high quality courses to enhance the learning and enjoyment of the people who attend the partner centres. By offering tutors with specialist knowledge and expertise it can bring fresh subjects to people.
WEA Support worker Charlotte explains. “At Ancaster Day Centre there are two main areas we have traditionally offered courses in, pottery and seasonal crafts, run by two tutors, Janice and Jane on Mondays and Fridays. Different people can book on for the full term which normally runs for twelve weeks. The courses are every bit as planned as a ‘conventional’ course offered in the brochure, there will be expected learning objectives and outcomes. In the near future we plan to expand what we do to include mixed media and gardening courses.”
“Students on the pottery courses often begin by exploring hand building techniques such as coil and slab pots. They learn how to make clay tiles and have used press moulds to create bowls and other items. Once these skills are mastered they progress onto using clay slip and to ‘slip cast’ pieces into plaster moulds.”
“Students have access to a good range of quality glazes and decorative finishes. We have two kilns in operation and a light, purpose built area for the clay making which is fully wheelchair accessible.”
“The students have produced wonderful decorative pieces over the years and the tutors are extremely proud of their progress and the wealth of talent and creativity. Mirrors, sculptures, animal figurines, photo frames, jewellery, snakes, castles and windmills are just a few of the creations I can think of as being produced in the three years I have been supporting the classes!”
In addition to using the finished items as gifts for themselves and their friends and families the students also raise funds for the centre by holding pottery sales of their work twice a year.
“Last term the students looked at work of ceramic artist Clarice Cliff for inspiration. Photographs and books were used as source material to gain inspiration for the students’ interpretations of her work. The topic also made us think and discuss the times she lived and worked in, and led to discussions on social history and women’s changing role in the workplace during the twentieth century. The quality of work produced was exceptional and everyone enjoyed the learning.”
“What makes this course somewhat unique is that it is also open to people from the outside – who do not normally attend the day centre, and this works extremely well. It brings fresh ideas into the group and also helps people think and consider their own abilities and perceptions of disability. You do not have to be classed as disabled to attend although fees may be payable if not in receipt of certain benefits”.
The tutor Jane is an extremely talented and experienced artist and tutor with boundless creative ideas and expertise for her subject. Her students all agree it is her teaching which makes the course a massive success and the atmosphere is always welcoming and friendly. As well as being a lot of hard work, students get a chance to socialise and discuss their week with their fellow students. This is very important to them, according to student feedback.
“It has been great… I can’t wait for the next course. So proud of what I have done.”
Student feedback from “Introduction to Pottery” course, Spring 2016
Places for the pottery course are limited however we can offer a waiting list for anyone wishing to show an interest in further courses in the near future. Please ring the Lincoln office on 01522 522 472 for further details.