I started at the library on November 7th of last year.Â Within a week and a half, I was in charge of a huge after-school program (Harvard has â€œearly release daysâ€ once or twice a month, and the library usually has programs on those days).Â Over the years, this program has been called â€œOrnament Decorating Workshopâ€ and â€œClaytimeâ€; itâ€™s the most popular early release program of the whole year.Â Last year, there were two sessions of thirty kids each, all anxious to paint clay ornaments and coasters.Â Lots of parents attend, too, so the program room was PACKED.Â I have a memory of myself standing by the door, desperately trying to figure out which kids were there and which kids hadnâ€™t shown up, and who might be crashing the party.Â It was, well, awful:Â I didnâ€™t know a soul in Harvard, and no one knew who I was, and chaos reigned.Â The worst part was as the kids finished, because I had to write down what type of ornament the child had painted and a description of the paint job (â€Emily – flamingo – yellow with purple spotsâ€), a totally necessary step so that the ornaments could be identified after firing.Â And remember, glazes are a different color before firing than they are after firing.Â Was Emilyâ€™s flamingo really yellow, or was it brown?Â You try doing that with a mob of thirty kids youâ€™ve never met before and with glazes you canâ€™t identify.
So, guess what.Â This clay painting workshop is coming up again, on Wednesday.Â Iâ€™ve changed the name of it to: â€œClay Painting Workshop with Fire Your Desire,â€ for two reasons.Â Iâ€™ve changed vendors from Claytime of Shrewsbury, very nice people but too far away, to Fire Your Desire of Acton, also extremely nice people, and just around the corner from my house.Â And I did have some complaints last year about this being described as an ornament painting workshop.Â Weâ€™ll still be painting ornaments, but theyâ€™re not necessarily Christmas tree ornaments.Â This workshop is for kids of all beliefs and denominations.
But what about the chaos?Â Iâ€™m still a bit nervous about this event, and truthfully canâ€™t wait for it to be over, but at least I know a fair portion of the kids and adults who will be attending.Â And Fire Your Desire is making the logistics a lot easier for me; Susan, the owner, is letting me pick up all the paints, ornaments, and other supplies first thing in the morning, so I can take my time getting set up.Â Sheâ€™ll also be sending someone over to help out with the actual workshop.Â Most importantly, Susan provides me with firing slips for all the kids.Â I am SO thrilled about this!Â I can write out the slips ahead of time with each kidâ€™s name, and then there is room to jot down what two ornaments the child decorated, with descriptions.Â Much, much easier.Â I hope.
Just two final notes here:Â a great big thank-you to Susan at Fire Your Desire, since sheâ€™s fabulous to work with AND she cut us a great deal, letting each child paint two ornaments for last yearâ€™s price for one ornament.Â And a HUGE thank-you to the Friends of the Harvard Public Library for funding this event.Â Too often the generosity of the Friends is under-recognized by program attendees; events like this one are free to all because the Friends work hard to raise funds and then generously give those funds to the library for programming and other uses.Â Without the donation of the Friends, this workshop would cost $5 per child.Â THANK YOU, FRIENDS!!!!!