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'They are fearless': Seniors take on new challenges at free art classes in Yellowknife

Hand building pottery is one of the classes being offered by the Yellowknife Guild of Arts and Crafts. (Submitted by Yellowknife Guild of Arts and Crafts. - image credit)
Hand building pottery is one of the classes being offered by the Yellowknife Guild of Arts and Crafts. (Submitted by Yellowknife Guild of Arts and Crafts. - image credit)

The Yellowknife Guild of Arts and Crafts is offering free art lessons to help seniors fight isolation, and stay connected with each other.

"It's something to do in the winter which we know is long and cold here. So it's an opportunity for seniors to get out in the community and be active," said Cynthia Levy, one of the guild's board directors.

She said one of the primary goals of the classes is to foster healthy aging within the community. 

The program started in fall 2023 — where participants could do things like pottery, felting and an ornament decorating class. The new winter classes began this January and include silversmithing, pottery, stained glass work and basket weaving.

Seniors have been creating a variety of pottery projects. One of them is a snowman created using pinch pots.
Seniors have been creating a variety of pottery projects. One of them is a snowman created using pinch pots.

Seniors have been creating a variety of pottery projects. One of them is a snowman created using pinch pots. (Submitted by Jenny Tucker )

For Yvonne Quick, 93, the classes are a chance to continue growing.

"You've got to keep learning, and you've got to keep doing, and you've to keep going. These things are important for seniors," she said.

Quick is taking part in pottery classes, and said it's an exciting experience.

"You meet new people, you're out and about. You're learning a new craft," she said. 

Seniors have been working on making things like cups as part of the pottery classes.
Seniors have been working on making things like cups as part of the pottery classes.

Seniors have been working on making things like cups as part of the pottery classes. (Submitted by Jenny Tucker )

"You're dealing with clay and working with your hands," she said.

Quick said she once purchased a plate in Mexico, and will use it as inspiration for her own pottery work.

Jenny Tucker, an instructor for the hand building pottery classes, said the seniors who take her classes come ready to take on new challenges.

"They are fearless and they bring a wealth of experience, so they're a lot of fun. Something goes wrong and they go, 'ha ha ha, I'll just do that again,'" she said.

"They have no fear if it doesn't work out perfectly the first time because these are humans that have lots of life experience." 

She said one of the most exciting parts of the project is how imaginative the seniors are with what they want to create.

"I hate [to] call them seniors because … they all have very young minds because they were willing to take this chance to, to take this risk, to try this opportunity," she said. 

She said she's taught children and adult pottery classes as well, and noticed that the senior classes are a lot more social.

"I find with the seniors they are, some of them are a little bit isolated and so this is great socialization time," she said.

Those interested in attending the workshops can reach out to the guild by email: yellowknifeguild@gmail.com.