Last week, I started a photography class here in Aqaba where I am learning both how to take better pictures and how to edit them using Photoshop. We are still in the picture portion of the class, and my latest assignment was to work on candid and posed portraits. I used today's site visit to the Women's Cooperative in Disi to practice.
Ceradisi is a workshop set up for women to product ceramics for tourists. A professional has been working with them for the past four weeks, and they are making things like camel pen holders, vases, ornaments, and souvenir plates. There's some really nice stuff and some products that I don't think will work for the tourist market. It's hard to remember that in workshops and trainings like these, you truly need to start with step one - the clay and the tools, then simple products, and importantly, only a few designs. Creativity, colors, design and expression will come along later.
I find this particularly interesting for my own work in Aqaba with our center's workshop and the individual entrepreneurs working in handicrafts. The period of training for both technical skills and soft skills has to be long and thoughtful, particularly if you are hoping for creative input from the men and women producing the products. I've also been thinking about the value of arts programs in schools - from small children all of the way up.
So, here's a little bit of my own attempt at creativity.