Times Class Act winner

·2 min read

Melanie McEwing of Strathmore High School (SHS) is the Strathmore Times Class Act Award winner, as well as the Charlotte Cummings award winner for 2022.

McEwing, a graduating Grade 12 student, spoke to her motivations towards artistry and in particular, being drawn to pottery.

“My motivations, first and foremost, was my great-grandmother. She was a potter in the 70’s, so I currently work on her potter’s wheel, I do everything with her tools, all her old work and all her notes,” said McEwing. “I’ve been doing it for more than a year. I wanted to try it, get into it, then I found out that I had all this other stuff and this other person in my family who was a potter. It just kind of happened all at once.”

The awards were presented to her on June 9 during the annual SHS student award ceremony, where recipients, teachers and sponsors gathered to honour student achievements.

McEwing was not informed that she would be awarded prior to receiving either award that evening.

“I’m feeling really good. I’m very honoured to win this award (and) it means a lot to me … what it means to me is that people see what I’m doing and that I get to share it with others and that people know what I’m doing. It makes me feel special that I get to keep pursuing my love of art, I get to share it and I get to help others as well,” she said.

Cummings, by happenstance, was also a potter alongside her activity as a drama teacher at SHS. According to her public obituary, she was an accomplished artist and sculptor, as well as an avid orchid grower, gardener and animal lover.

McEwing said following her graduation from SHS, she will travel with her sister to Germany in September to begin work at an art center.

“It feels good to have my twin sister come stay with me, but I am nervous and there is also the language barrier. It’s going to be hard,” said McEwing. “It’s a big step from being isolated in COVID-19 a lot and not having many experiences. This is going to be a very big one and it’s going to really broaden my outlook on life.”

Alongside her interest in pottery, McEwing also does a lot of drawing and painting, refurbishes old sterling silver jewellery and makes spoon rings from old cutlery.

“As a kid, I loved creating stuff, playing in the mud, and working with my hands. It’s just been my whole life; I’ve loved it and working with my hands,” said McEwing. “I always have to keep busy and I love just creating and putting a smile on people’s faces when I show them my work.”

John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times

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