Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Litiana finds niche in ceramics

FOR Litiana Vuniwaqa making things from ceramic is her first step to achieving her dream of being an artist and putting her work on display in an art gallery or sell online. She was recently part of the first-ever graduation for CreatiVITI Pottery Apprentices, held earlier this month in Mountain View, Nadi.

The CreatiVITI Pottery apprenticeship program was launched in December 2005. The design of this program reflects that ceramics involves an extensive range of knowledge and skills, some fairly complex.
Repeated practice over time is needed to master some of the techniques to a point where results are marketable.

A one-month probation period followed by a further five months of job experience and training is the standard structure of the program. The goals of the apprenticeship program may simply be exposure, work experience for school-leavers and others trying to move into the general job market.

Litiana was among six young people who completed this pioneer training program, gaining skills and knowledge needed as a foundation for building careers in contemporary ceramics. She has learned how to harvest clay from the field, test and process it.

Her training included theory and practical work in a range of pottery-forming processes, using modern tools and a special oven where clay pieces are heated to over 1000 degrees Celcius, making them strong, waterproof, and durable.

The shy lass from Dreketi, Qamea, said art in the form of drawings and sketches was something she had always been involved in. "This is something new for me but is very interesting because I play around with the designs and try new things out," she said. "It's no turning back because this is another avenue of earning a living for myself.

"I am still very young and my journey is just only beginning." Litiana, 21, was educated at Seaqaqa Indian Primary School before going to Seaqaqa Central, in Labasa, and completing seventh form at Penang Sangam, in Rakiraki.

She is the youngest among nine siblings of four brothers and four sisters. She said the hands-on community educational project was part of the work CreatiVITI did in developing and promoting art and craft in Fiji.

"One of my friends talked me into signing up for the program and that it would be worth giving a try," she said. "I have been doing clay pottery and ceramics for the last nine months, it's early days but it's something I am keen on getting this thing working.

"I found that it's one way of expressing myself in terms of the type of designs I come up with.
"I get my designs from my surroundings, nature and my imagination. "I have just completed one of my very first contracts with one of the hotels in the West.

"The design was my instructor Maria Rova's and it took me three months to put together.
"The time spent on each project differs as it depends on the design. "But the next big project I am working on right now is for the upcoming Christmas craft fair to be staged in Suva.

"I think young people should not shy away from this. "If they have the talent in producing extraordinary art work that makes people sit up and take notice, they should continue and not stop there," he said.

Adapted from Fijitimes.com - October 23rd, 2007