“I chose this clock,” says Leonie* (8 years old) pointing to the showcase. The clock is red and the numbers look a bit strange. She laughs. “A clay clock!” She’s never seen anything like it. The children study the cups, pots, and vases in the big cabinet intently. They gaze, curiously, at the shapes, colors, and designs. They’re supposed to pick the object they like best. Then they’ll learn the name of the ceramicist who made it, its purpose and appearance.
Jona (7) exclaims: “I like this bowl best. Grete made it.” “I think that design is lovely. What would you put in the bowl?” Anna (43) asks him.
Anna is guiding the children from a Berlin elementary school through the cabinet exhibition “Tonalities. Jewish Women Ceramicists from Germany after 1933.” Without hesitating, Jona answers: “Apples or bananas, or even nuts.” “Maybe even pears, or bread!” calls out Elsa (8).
Her favorite object is a candlestick. It’s beige and was made by the ceramicist Hanna. Anna asks the class, “Do you all know what celebration this candlestick would be used for?” Leonie’s hand flies up; she knows the answer: Hanukkah. She has just participated in a candle-dipping workshop for the Jewish Festival of Lights in December.
After the tour, the children start working on their own projects. They cross the street to the studio in the new Academy of the Jewish Museum. They grab paper, pens, and glue and pick out fabric, feathers, and paints. The children are now designers. Elsa sticks fur onto her cup. Toni (9) arranges her vase with colorful flowers and blue and white polka-dots.
Standing next to her, Valentin (7) smiles mischievously. Before today, he had never seen a clock made of clay. He holds up his creation. Also never seen before: a pot for hot cocoa made of brightly-colored feathers.
Nadja Rentzsch, Education
(*Names changed by the editors)
Editors’ note: If you would like to book a visit with your school class or group of children between ages 6 and 10 for the children’s design workshop “Tonalities,” available until 31 March 2014, please sign up by calling or emailing:
+49 30 25993 437