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Atelje Janja Gora
Janja Gora 163b
47304 Plaški

tel.:095 911 86 29




“Kreativci u Lici” free workshops for children

Already in 2009 we started a cycle of free workshops for children in a primary school in Plaški. The goal of the workshops is to teach children to play with the creative energy within them, because in times like these they often forget the fact that they are filled with it.
With the program 'Creatives in Lika' we want to give them a happier memory of their time in school and childhood.
Working with clay, a primary material, we connect with different subjects and make them into visible and touchable creations.
That way our smallest hands already made a variety of wild and domestic animals, as well as many usable objects but also a vast array of mythological creatures, creatures made of imagination and dreams, creatures from the children's subconcious.
At the same time we include wider projects of the atelier into these workshops, for example the project 'Water, the fluid of life' and 'Chawan'.

Kreativci u Lici – about the program

The idea
Our association works not only internationally, but also locally in a small town in an area of special government concern called Plaški.
The structure of inhabitants after the war changed drastically after the war and produces a certain tension between people and the impossibility of living life as equals despite years of 'peace', and that greatly affects CHILDREN – all children.
Trusting and without prejudice, children are left to themselves in this situation and they 'learn' and inherit all the negative attitude and perceptions of their parents and people who surround them, which is responsible for most of their frustrations and sometimes unacceptable behaviour. Aside from this 'heavy heritage', children in Plaški have absolutley no other initiatives or activities they could partake in, no playrooms, movie theaters, dancehalls, kindergartens etc. The only thing they have is their school where they sometimes get an interesting workshop, but nothing enough to change the situation they're in.

As we recognized this problem, knowing that all frustrations and problems are easier to solve by creative work and approach, we organized a lasting project of ceramic workshops starting from the school year 2009/2010, for all children and youths throughout the whole school year.
Providing them with a safe space to express themselves and to be who they really are, we slowly remove the differences and prejudice among our youngest, making for a better society based on community and recognizing differences as treasures rather than obstacles.

The program

The goal of our workshops is to help develop creativity in school and preschool children.
The methodology of the workshops is modified primarly according to the interests of the children in the material and certain task, as well as their age.

On the workshops children are encouraged into three-dimensional thinking, shaping their ideas and thoughts freely and understanding the process of creating with clay.
From the beggining they learn the origin of the material, its history and appliance areas, as well as basic theories about processing clay. Then we present them with basic techniques of making clay objects such as the technique of 'worm building' (building objects with rolled out strings of clay), building with tiles and strips, sculptural techniques and techniques on the potter's wheel.
Each and every one of these techniques is shown and learnt directly and in practice, on a concrete assingment and often on a usable object children can later really use, becoming aware of their ability to produce things themselves.
Alongside various ways of forming things out of clay, they also get to learn firing techniques and possibilities, from electrical and gas kilns to firing with wood and charcoal (Japanese technique) and ancient wood fired kilns of Chinese, Japanese, Roman or old-ilirian origin.
The themes of the lessons are often tied to their everyday lives and direct environment, some of them include making domestic and wild animals from the area, clay versions of objects of daily use, forests (forest spirits) and any object their lives evoke in their imagination and their perception of reality. Children are encouraged to make anything they can think of, not thinking about the limitations of the material and technique but instead researching and finding inovative solutions with their tutors to reach the end goal.
Furthermore, they are given the same theme and asked to interpret it in their own way using their imagination and assimilated knowledge. Ceramic workshops are linked with other creative workshops included in the 'Kreativci u Lici' project, so they also make figurines for puppet shows, musical instruments and rattles, medalions and keychains.

A valuable part of the program is making big sculptures together. This part of the program includes searching for clay in nature that surrounds them, preparing it for work and shaping it into a big sculpture. After building it, they fire it in the open, which is in itself a fascinating event, witnessing the power of fire and the transformation it causes. This way children develop a sense of connection to earth, to teamwork and togetherness with communal success as the reward.

In today's day and age of instant information and a buisy life, we are happy to offer children something that lasts and develops their patience. As making an object out of clay can last up to a month due to a long drying period and multiple firings, children learn to appreciate the time of waiting as an important part of the process, understanding that things take time and letting it flow naturally.
At the end of each school year we organize an exhibition of the children's artworks.
We also organize them on multiple holidays and manifestations to spread the idea and broaden the culture of our region.

It's important to emphasise that children keep most of their artworks as a lasting memory of their time spent on these workshops. Part of the artworks (birds, frogs etc.) are built into communal installations we then put into schools, municipalities and other interested institutions. These kinds of installations enrich the visual identity of these places and remind everyone of the positive results of working with children.

Atelje Janja Gora provides all the materials, tools, proffesional leadership, final treatments and processing, as well as the firing kilns. Besides that, the atelier also takes care of organizing the exhibitions, publishing internet pages concerning the project and other means of promoting the whole project.

Financing the workshops

The workshops are completely free and all the participants get to keep most of their works.
They are free due to our wish to make them acessible to everybody, as well as to make it easier on the parents as we live in an area of lower financial stability.
To obtain the basic elements we need to continue with what we're doing, we from the atelier put in enormous efforts every year.
We succeed in covering the basic material expences but we never have enough for other activities like exhibitions, catalogues and educational roadtrips which we find would be a great addition to our program.
We also want to emphasise that proffesional guidance of the workshops and the program organization in general are purely volounteer work conducted by members of our association.

If what you read encourages you to help us, you are more than welcome. Thank you.
Contact us by mail or facebook.
Workshop support and thanks

Karlovac county supports our workshops through their sport and culture office a number of years already.
Also, in the fall of 2010, the government of the Netherlands also recognized the value of this program and gave their financial support for the school year 2010/2011 through the Matra/kap program. This way we express our own and the childrens gratitude to them and all the people that have supported us in any way.

We would also like to thank our friends and volounteers for leading workshops and staying motivated and enthusiastic in leading children through this beautiful process of self-discovery. Bojan Mršić, thank you for the photography; Sandra Mihaljević, thank you for leading drawing, graphic and graphich imprinting workshops. Bojan and Sandra both traveled from Ivanić Grad to help us.
Furthermore, we thank Danijela Pešut for leading ceramic workshops and Branko Šupica for taking care of everything.
At the end we would like to list the partners who helped us keep the workshops free of charge for all children involved:
- the Dutch embassy in Croatia
- the charity 'RTL pomaže djeci'
- Karlovac county
- Plaški municipality

What we did


This school year we made horse busts, various wall installations, jewlery and clay houses.
A special guest of the atelier was Petar Martinović, a ceramist from Montenegro who showed the children how to work on the potter's wheel, his field of expertese. Thank you, Petar.
This year's workshop was followed by an exhibition in the primary school in Plaški, on school day.
Check out the pictures here.


This year we made the faces of good forest spirits (faces of trees) made from separate components, horse relief, jewelry, various animals and books open on a page with an inspirational message. The children also had a big communal project – making sculptures of the Slavic gods Perun and Mokoš, who now proudly stand in front of Atelje Janja Gora guarding it.
Check out the pictures here.


This year the children made animal busts, sets of ceramic dishes and oriental wall masks. They also learned something about imprinting clay with various patterns and how to make their own trays for baking bread, cakes etc., just like our ancestors used to make with clay as their only available material.
Chech out some photos here (facebook) or here (google+).


This year's workshop had a slightly different concept within our international 'Water – fluid of life' project where children could experience the magic of creating something together. Combining different techniques such as ceramics, drawing, graphics and photography we made a piece of art inspired by the eternal movement of water. After many months of hard work, play and cooperation, the mural 'Vrelo' was put up on the wall in Plaški primary school, witnessing a moment of creativity we turned into a lasting work of art.
The photos of the creation process are available on our facebook page, and on this link you can download a pdf file of our 2011 catalogue about this project, describing it more closely with pictures of our youngest participants.
Thank you for your time.

And wider
This type of workshop, even though it's primaly made for the children and young adults of Plaški and Saborsko, it can easily be transferred on other places.

For more info:
Atelje Janja Gora
Branko Šupica, 095 911 86 29
Danijela Pešut, 095 911 86 27

International ceramics centre Atelier Janja Gora • OIB 4608700919 • Bank account: PBZ Bank, Swiftcode: PBZGHR2X, IBAN:HR44 2340 0091 1103 7638 2 •
Responsible individual: Branko Šupica
© Atelje Janja Gora 2013