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Clay sculpturing draws kids to Ashby Free Public Library

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ASHBY — “Mine’s going to be a duck!” said one boy at the “Rooted in Clay” children’s program held at the Ashby Free Public Library on June 26.

Nearly 20 children listened intently while Shana Brautigam and Ethan Hamby, of Rooted in Clay from Rindge, N.H., explained and modeled how to make a clay rattle and turn it into an animal.

After they had the general idea, each child got two similar-sized balls of clay to form into bowls. Then they made small clay balls and covered them with sand so they wouldn’t stick together.

Then the little balls went into a bowl and the two bowls were joined together at the rim to make a pot. After that came the fun part, deciding what animal to turn the new pot into.

“No two were alike,” Brautigam said.

The workshop was held in the children’s craft room, downstairs in the new library wing. Filled with child-sized furniture and children’s artwork, the room accommodated the children, parents and workshop leaders comfortably.

The event was sponsored by the Ashby Friends of the Library. Katy Sutton-Brown of the Friends was there, with her children.

She said that Rooted in Clay had given workshops at the library before and were very well received. Twenty slots were available for children 5 and up to join in the fun. All the slots were filled.

This year the Ashby Library Children’s Summer Reading Program is called “Wild Reads.” Sutton-Brown said that making animals ties in with that theme.

“It’s nice to have these activities. It’s free,” said Lisa Leach, one of the parents in attendance. “It’s important to keep kids reading over the summer.”

Children will have plenty of reasons to return to the library over the summer break. Mike Bent will kick off the “Wild Reads” program on Wednesday, July 9 at 2 p.m. with an exciting interactive program that uses comedy, magic, storytelling, puppets and music.

On Thursday, Aug. 14 at 2 p.m., naturalist Mary Doane will present “Wild about Turtles.” Children will have a chance to meet turtles, learn songs and make a clay turtle.

The summer program wraps up on Thursday, Aug. 21 at 2 p.m. with an ice cream social featuring Henry the Juggler.

Brautigam and Hamby will return sometime in the beginning of July to deliver the finished clay rattles begun in June. Once fired at their studio, the cats, turtles, six-legged monsters, dogs, rhinoceroses, and of course the duck, will be ready to go home.

Rooted in Clay is open for visitors, shoppers and classes. They are located at 208 Middle Winchendon Road in Rindge, N.H., about a mile from Routes 202 and 119.

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