clay workshop auroville
auroville clay workshop
a first collaboration with svaram
In October 2019 Hans Houkes from Stonewhistle traveled to Auroville in India to provide a one-month clay workshop for some of the young people working at the SVARAM center. The main goal of this project was to teach them how to make clay instruments, enrich their skills, and to provide them with new possibilities for personal growth and enrichment. With help of the Resonance Group Hans was able to set up a continuous program there and already traveled back in 2020 to proceed with his work there.
sharing knowledge is the fastest way to achieve new possibilities...
– resonance group –
In March of 2019, Hans met Aurelio, founder of SVARAM, for the first time during the annual meeting of the Resonance Group, this time in San Diego. Sharing a history of ocarina making, Aurelio revealed his wish to enrich the SVARAM range with clay instruments. Although SVARAM provides work and income for over 50 people and their families, it still is a challenge to create enough revenue to provide all of them a steady base. Adding clay instruments within their product range would enable SVARAM to provide a better and safer platform for the flute department of SVARAM. Hans offered to travel to India and to share his skills during a 4-week workshop at SVARAM. With the financial help of the Resonance Group, Hans left for Auroville on the 20th of October 2019, with his suitcases packed with as much equipment, materials, and example instruments as possible...
During the month-long clay workshop, a lot of footage was shot. Here you can see a compilation of the different disciplines that passed during this month. You can find more information about this workshop on the Stonewhistle website
To fire the flutes we made, we needed to build a kiln with local materials within the 4 weeks we had. In SVARAM’s case, the only 2 options were a kiln on wood or one on gas. We decided to go for a barrel-style kiln on LPG gas, as this system was used in the kitchen and in the workplace too using big bottles. We visited local potteries to learn from the local systems they used and we strolled around through many villages and towns in the neighborhood to find the right materials. finally, we collected everything to start building the SVARAM kiln! A local blacksmith helped us with the welding process. And last but not least: the unique setup of this kiln made it possible to use it for smoke firing too!
Just a few days before the trip to India, Aurilio from Svaram asked if it would be possible to build a Soundcircle at Svaram. A Soundcircle is a set of electronic audio players with motion sensors in a circle or other geometric shape which gives a beautiful harmonic field when you pass through them. We really didn’t expect we could get it done in such a short time, but it seems that in India everything is possible… This project became a personal challenge for Hans and Shankar and heading the end of my 3 weeks every day more and more people started to get involved to make it happen on the day we would give the final presentation… The installation got a permanent place in the front garden of the SVARAM shop!
During our stay at SVARAM, the Irula mountain tribe came down from the mountains for a few days. Every two years they visit SVARAM to get help with repairing a building their instruments. I spend quite some time with them and one evening I visited their camping ground to share an evening meal. We ended up having a two-hour conversation about the sounds of nature and they invited us to come to visit them for a few days in the mountains. We felt really grateful for having the opportunity to meet these beautiful people.
The best way to see what you learned, is to teach it to others again. That's why we organized a workshop for groups of children to see if our new clay flute makers were able to share their newly gained knowledge with others. It turned out to be a day with as many fun as mistakes, but in the end, both the children as our newborn flute masters learned a lot!
During his stay in Auroville Hans was able to present his work and the work of the Resonance Group on several occasions. We are now able to work more closely together with projects in Auroville. Aurelio Hammer from Svaram is working on the realization of a new Soundcampus in Auroville which will provide a space for a new Sound Sanctuary, and we work closely together now on several new developments. Many new connections were made during our stay at Auroville which can be all harvested at a later time. Here's a 35-minute compilation of one of these presentations.