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Carin Berg Clay Journeys

Carina Berger and Tirellan National School

The children involved in the Clay Journeys project are pupils of the three 5th classes of Saint Francis National School, Tirellan Heights, Galway City. The school thrives on diversity-45 different nationalities are represented within the school’s community-and inclusiveness as the spirit of community is nurtured by all the staff through the involvement of local people in a wide range of extra-curricular projects which encourage children’s inquisitive nature and creativity.
The three fifth-class pupils and their teachers enthusiastically engaged in the first part of the project in October 2020, building  red clay boats to celebrate stories of migration. 
For the second part of the project – due to be completed once the children will have returned to school after the 15th of March – they will be exploring a white body stoneware clay and build lanterns. These will then be fired in the kiln, and in contrast to the transient clay boats, they will be taken home by their little makers. They will be mementos of a moment in their life, honouring the tradition of the Meitheal, the spirit of community and the sharing of stories. 
As carriers of stories, the boats convey the dreams and hopes for the future, they encapsulate the new story yet to be told..
From times immemorial, stories have been fundamental to communities. passed on through countless generations, they sparked a sense of belonging, they established and reinforced our connection to ourselves and to one another, they carried on universal beliefs and truths about the essence of our world and of humanity, they perpetuated customs and legends. 
Storytelling traditionally was told sitting by a source of light-a chimney fire, the flickering flame of a candle, a bed lamp…
Like the navigation lights of a ship at sea, the light lanterns recall a suspended, shared instant and indicate where we are throughout our journey.
Many Thanks to the staff from Tirellan National School and to the fifth classes’ pupils for their indefectible participation in the project.
A special thumb up to their respective teachers Karla Bodeker, Ailish Farrelly and Clare O’Donoghue for getting fully hands-on with the workshops!

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