Town of L'Anse au Clair

Labrador, Canada

My Brownie Owl and Elf

Owl and Elf
Owl and Elf (larger version)

A Community Voices story by Lorena Clarke.

My Brownie Owl and Elf are made of ceramic. The Owl is painted brown with yellow and black eyes; it has markings on its back that simulates its feathers. It is shiny because it was glazed and then fired in the kiln. The elf is green and brown with smeared paint because me, as a child had painted it.

When I was around age 7 we lived in Goose Bay Labrador. I was a member of the third Goose Bay Brownie pack. As an outing the leaders arranged for us and our parents to go to the ceramic club to learn about ceramics.

I cannot remember if it was any more than two nights or not, but the first night we chose what we wanted to make . My mom chose the owl for me, since she was a member of the ceramic club she knew what to do. She got the mould for me and checked it out for me that there were no cracks into it or no dust into it. She then poured the slip (liquid clay )into the mould, we waited the required time for the slip to set. Then she carefully took the mould off, and cut off any excess clay. She then carved my name into the bottom, she gave me the owl to sand off any rough edges. In the process of sanding I removed the initials without realizing what I was doing. We left it to go into the kiln so that it will turn into glass.

Lorena first day in uniform
Lorena first day in uniform (larger version)

The next week we went back to the ceramic club to get our item to paint. I remember looking into a cardboard box of ceramic items and I could not find my owl. I was very disappointed when I could not find it. The brownie leader feeling sorry for me gave me a little elf to paint. My mom chose the paint and let me start painting, while she and the leader looked for the owl. Before the evening was over my mom had recovered the owl. We took it home and my mom painted it, she took it to the club when she went next time to have it fired that is why it is so shiny.

My mom kept the items on her divider shelf (a big stand that could be used to divide a room) until I was old enough to take care of them myself. When they were given to me to take care of I kept them on my bedroom bureau. The elf was somehow knocked down and its leg got broken and then misplaced. Now that I have my own home and family I keep it in the kitchen cupboard.

When my daughter came home looking for something more than twenty years old for school, because they were learning about museums I thought about my owl. I ripped a piece of exercise paper and printed these words: "Made by Lorena Clarke at age 8 when the 3rd Goose Bay brownies went on an outing to the ceramic shop at USAF base in Goose Bay. Painted by: Susie Letto approx 1973-74." I taped the note on the owl with magic tape and sent her off to school. She was in grade 2 then 1997 now she is graduating her grade 12 this school year 2007-2008.

A couple of weeks later she brought it home safe an I placed it back in the cupboard, where it has been until I needed an object to write this story. The paper has started to fade but the memories of a shy little girl in her brownie uniform with her mom will not.