Since the very beginning, we emphasized the importance of the local community and the area we are settled in. We started visiting local schools offering them free creative workshops. Through these projects schools were enriched by the artwork produced and the children participating discovered the magic of creation with clay. This work grew further into what is today known as the 'Kreativci u Lici' (Creatives in Lika) program, a series of free of charge regular workshops for the children and youth of the area. More about this particular program and photos can be found here.
In the future we hope the project will take on the form of a travelling atelier with the goal of going further and wider into the community, visiting schools of the whole region. Also, we have integrated it into our international project 'Water, fluid of life'.
Every year, we organize an open day in our atelier, inviting artists from all over the place to share their art with visitors from the local community and wider. These open days are known as manifestations of good atmosphere, ceramics exhibitions, creative workshops, fire, good music and good food.
For years we have participated in Ogulin fairy tale festival, organized every year in the birth place of one of the greatest Croatian writers Ivana Brlić Mažuranić. There we joined forces with many other interpreters to guide visitors into the magic of creation. The festival and Ivana's House of Fairy Tales are one of the best known attractions of the city of Ogulin, promoting Croatian literature and art.
We were an active part of the project of the humanitarian organization ADRA called 'Lika u fokusu' (Lika in focus) aimed to help rebuild and normalize life in the war-torn area of Croatia. Our thanks go to ADRA and Mr. Tihomir Lipohar who recognized the potential of our idea and helped us in starting up by providing material help to repair our own house and build the base of what our atelier is now. More about building (with pictures and friends and sponsors who helped can be found on the sponsors page.
In the process of integrating Croatia into the EU, for a few years in a row the Karlovac county invited us to organize workshops and small exhibitions with Europe as the main theme, bringing the idea of united Europe closer to the Croatian public, especially children and youth - future citizens of Europe. One of the more interesting workshops was 'The other side of the Euro' where children gave their ideas on how the other side of the euro currency coin might look like once it becomes the Croatian currency as well.
We also pay big attention to the natural and cultural heritage of Plaški and the wider region around us.
Our workshops focus on stories of tradition, history and the nature surrounding us as a guiding idea while shaping clay. Whenever possible, we take our guests for a walk, long or short, and we offer one or more days excursions to show them the richness and beauty of the area.
As a part of these promotional activities we often represented our atelier at fairs in many cities of Croatia.
Several of our products have been enlisted as a part of the local branding strategy of the Lika county under the name 'Lika Quality'. These products bare the certificate of their local origin and roots in local tradition and culture and are an authentic representation of the area we are in. See the products on the shop page.
Last but not least, throughout the years we have hosted many non profit organizations, schools, associations, journalists and many, many others, showing them our work and presenting the idea of sustainable projects in culture and art.
It gives us a special proud feeling when we discover that many of our guests and participants of our programs were inspired to take creative steps in their life and work. Some wonderful examples are inscribing in art schools, including us in a drama play, writing songs about us, and writing amazing articles and reviews in many different brochures, magazines and web pages.
And let's not forget many of our friends who became 'addicted' to clay, making their own works and actively doing ceramics today.
Kreativci u Lici ~ Creatives in Lika
In 2009 we started one of our greatest projects, workshops for the children of our area. From the very beginning of our work we felt that we should do something on a local level. As a post-war area, Plaški was (and still is) dealing with many political and social instabilities, resulting in a poor and empty daily life for its inhabitants; especially children. So we decided to open our door and offer them creative workshops that will help them in their growing up process. The primal rule was that the workshop are offered for free, without any costs for the children, as we were aware of the communities general point of view about art, or anything different than their own ideas; and the economical status of the families as well.
We started by regularly driving to 2 of our local schools, bringing all the materials we needed with us. After one year, due to high costs of travelling we continued in our atelier.
In 2011 we published the catalogue that you can see here.
On the childrens workshops every Wednesday for 10 years, we have worked on many projects, made a big mural at the local school, house numbers, cups, masks and many other things, to help children develop creative thinking and discover their talents.
And it worked! Two of our students inscribed in an art school and have discovered the artists in themselves, making us very proud.
We see a great potential in all these kids and in the whole project in general, so we are planing to expand it to the whole region of Lika. Throughout the years we hope to build a network of publicly displayed artworks that come out of the workshops. They will all have the binding theme of water and our local culture and heritage. That way, we hope to bring a more thorough and better understanding of our environment and our natural potentials, as well as the need of preserving and respecting them beginning at an early age.
Furthermore, all of these public art installations will become an integrated part of our international art project Water fluid of life that we started in 2019.
Keeping this workshops free of charge for children is challenging job that involves lot's of voluntarily work and every year search for funds to keep it running. There is no institutional fond in Croatia for project like this (at least not for us), so it's every time starting again and again, but it is worth it. The project was recognized and supported by the Dutch embassy in Croatia, RTL television Croatia, municipality Plaški and Karlovac county. Hereby we thank them all, along with all others who supported us in this work.
Pictures below show some of the atmosphere and works, but it is much nicer to know that many of these ceramic works have their life and function in the houses of more than a 100 children that participated in this project.
Open for all
As for our local community, we stand open for all people willing to try their creative side. Many workshops have been organized for other schools and organization like basis and higher education instantiates, Montessori and Waldorf schools in Croatia, youth exchange from Ginac, France, other schools and associations from Croatia and further abroad.
And more, almost everybody who came to visit us, became interested in clay and ceramics. And many of them are still doing it, making nice works and contributing to art and culture in Croatia.
Workshops offered can be and usually are combined with local tours, giving the visitors opportunity to find out more about our region and/or to get inspired for the creative work later on. More about the specific local tours can be find here.
Recently, we started offering our workshops to tourist and visitors of Plitvice lakes national park and Lika destination. Not only to have a good time and experience more of Croatia, but also to learn about our mission and to participate in its growth. The workshops are offered via Airbnb, Tripadvisor and other related platforms, but you can also book them here simply by sending us an email and asking about available date's and specific wishes. More about workshops you can find here.
Water, fluid of life, ongoing project
Our international work has been crowned by the exhibition we organized in 2019 on the Plitvice Lakes national park and Aquartica fresh water aquarium, member of international water museums network. We wanted to show the connection between art, creative thought and inspiration drown from nature. But we also wanted to emphasize that art and artists with their work can help in preserving and protecting nature.
So, we decided to transform the exhibitions in an ongoing project. From 2020 we are starting a workshops in the Croatian most known water regions Lika and Karlovac county. A series of the workshops in local schools whereby the focus is on water in the direct neighborhood. Apart from getting to know their own surroundings, children will learn about importance of water preservation, will learn the basic clay techniques and become aware of this art-nature connection.
To top it off, every workshop will result in a big sculptural work 'One drop' that will be placed in a public area where the school is based, to in-reach the local community and to stay there as a reminder on the idea and project. That way, a network of sculptures will emerge in the whole area, making it visible and present.
Further, plans are being made to organize international youth exchange, where our guests from other countries will have the same opportunity.
And of course, every 2 years we plan to organize an exhibition of the best works. Next one is planed in September 2021, again at NP Plitvice lakes.