- Earthwise Teachers
Coil pots and gourd rattles
Updated: Dec 18, 2020
During these late autumn days our morning adventures have been filled with mushroom exploration. Through the wet leaves and sticks on the forest floor, we uncover fungi of all shapes, sizes and colors. Every few feet, it seems, one of the children notices a new mushroom and everyone gathers around to examine it.
Of course the most exciting mushroom discovery of all is the puffball mushroom, which can "puff" spores out of a hole in its top like a little cloud. It's fun to squeeze the spores out, and helpful for the mushroom, too!
On this day our morning hike led us into a grove surrounding a giant Madrone "treehouse," where an old growth madrone tree created a "roof." We had walked past this grove many times on our adventures and we all felt in awe when we discovered the secret cave-like space behind a thin wall of smaller trees. We observed this old growth tree, felt its bark, climbed up into its trunk, and looked way, way up into the canopy. Such a large tree feels like a whole world of its own!
Back in our cozy tipi, we have been getting crafty with clay and hardshell gourds! Working with clay has such a meditative quality, and this was probably our most enjoyable craft time so far this year. We all shaped our clay balls into little coils, and then wrapped them into pinch pots by pinching the coils together.
After Thanksgiving we spent the whole week working on gourd rattles with some hardshell gourds from Teacher Sarah's garden. We hollowed them out, scraped out the flaky white seedpods inside, sanded them, and then filled them with corn kernels. The openings were sealed with little wooden discs and glue, then left to dry.
The next class we came back and painted them with Earth Paint! For anyone who doesn't know, Natural Earth Paint is a local Ashland company that makes mineral pigment paints. They are so safe and gentle for the little ones, and are compostable/biodegradable since they are just made from clay and minerals. We highly recommend them! Here's the link to their website: www.naturalearthpaint.com.