On July 21, we hosted our first soapstone carving summer camp. Twelve children aged 8 to 12 years got their hands dirty and chanelled their creativity to turn soapstone into their own masterpiece.
The activity also aimed to promote soapstone carving as a fun-filled hobby and bonding activity among people of all ages. And we're glad our first batch of attendees loved the experience!
The participants got to try out our soapstone kits for beginners which contained a soapstone block, rasps, and sandpapers”all the essentials one needs for a beginner carving session.
Below are the highlights of the activity.
What Went Well
We came prepared and organized with all the supplies we needed. All participants were provided with the right tools they needed.
Every child and the counselors enjoyed the kits very much. They were even excited to take home their finished piece and display it for their families to see.
Many kids took to carving very well and no one got seriously hurt. Everyone was engaged in the act of carving the entire time. By the end of the activity, the kids understood and appreciated what soapstone was.
Everyone went to check out the store afterwards.
Areas for Improvement
Carving has been a real challenge for those who have no experience in soapstone carving. So it's important to learn the basics of the craft beforehand! Familiarize the tools, how they work, and watch tutorial videos on carving techniques.
The weather was also not optimal at that time. It was very windy and everything was flying, even the water-filled bowls used for smoothing out the soapstone. The kids were also spilling water on each other's laps, on the floor. Be careful if you're hosting this kind of event indoors. And definitely not on carpet.
Another thing to remember is to set some housekeeping rules. We didn't have any before starting the carvings. The children were so playful and were pretending that the rasps were swords, playing fighting with each other.
Two people for 12 kids was too little to assist all of the kids because they were extremely high strung. A majority of them needed individual one-on-one support for a few minutes before they understood how to do it on their own.
The children did not have a place to put their final carvings because their boxes were destroyed by all the water that they spilled.
There's also no work area boundaries”the kids were spilling water and oil on each other and grabbing each other’s carvings and tools.
- Pick a day that is not windy, raining, or snowing
- Lay out some ground rules before starting (personal safety around the carving tools, keeping one's personal space clean, and spillage)
- Have a garbage pail and cleaning supplies ready
- Provide gloves and aprons to participants and encourage them to wear painting clothes to prevent their clothes from getting dirty
- Have more staff to assist the kids
- Develop better ways of explaining how to carve and what the tools are meant to do
All things considered, our first soapstone carving event was a success and ended on a high note. The kids loved their work, they were able to appreciate the art of soapstone carving, and they took home a masterpiece they can call their own.
Looking forward to more carving sessions soon!