Due to the great success of her after school clay classes for kids, Susanne Gressen Prinz has much pleasure in introducing potter Natasha Rao to the team. This means classes can be run on Mondays and Tuesdays, doubling the number of places available. Susanne, who has run 3 programmes a year for the last few years, says numbers of applicants for her last series reached 14, too many for the Clay Shed behind the Old School Arts Centre where the classes are held.

Natasha, who has lived in Raglan for two and a half years, is excited to be teaching clay, her favourite teaching medium. “Children have so much fun with clay,” she says, “and its amazing what they can create because they have such fantastic imagination.” An experienced art teacher, her background includes delivering programmes in alternative education facilities and teaching children with special needs. She especially enjoys holding exhibitions of children’s art. “Their work has so much energy and life.”

Susanne and Natasha are looking forward to working as a team. Their aim is for the children to have fun while being challenged to explore new techniques in a relaxed way as they ‘play’ with the clay. And they will have fun, if past classes are anything to go by, with the workspace alive with weird, wacky and often quite beautiful creations. The Clay Shed is small but well equipped, the kiln recently renovated to cope with the influx of new work from the children as well as from regular members, and Susanne is grateful to those members who come along to help run the children’s sessions.

Susanne’s Monday class will be making self portraits in clay, while on Tuesdays Natasha’s group will make sculptures, learning the Japanese haniwa technique. Classes cater for children from 5-12 years, and last from 3.30-5.00pm. The eight sessions in this series start on Monday 9 and Tuesday 10 May, and cost just $49 for the whole programme including the cost of clay and glazes. Susanne says they do everything possible to keep the cost down, so sponsorship or donations are always appreciated.

Please note that each class must have 8-10 children to be viable, so call the Arts Centre now to make sure of a place — 825 0023 or info@raglanartscentre.co.nz.