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Take family-friendly clay lessons with Arpine

Take family-friendly clay lessons with Arpine image

Local children roll out clay at one of Arpine's workshops. (Photo by Areg Vardanyan, My Armenia Program)

Arpine Matevosyan opened her art studio, Arhestanots, in a historic building in her childhood home of Areni. What was once a church, House of Culture, Soviet storage warehouse, and even a café is now a space for visitors of all ages to demonstrate their creativity. In addition to hosting tourists, Arpine teaches local children skills in pottery, painting, and crochet at Arhestanots Studio.

During your visit, Arpine will take you on a short tour of the studio and introduce you to the region’s rich traditions of pottery. While mixing the local clay in your hands, you can learn where it’s found and how it differs from the clay of other regions. This is truly an immersive experience that can be enjoyed by the whole family. In fact, Arpine has designed her studio and workshops with children and hands-on guided learning in mind.

You’ll be able to choose from three options to learn and to practice Areni’s artistic traditions:

  • Create pieces of jewelry using pieces of terracotta (baked clay) and thread. Arpine will explain the meanings of the designs on the terracotta, which may be rock iconography, floral décor, or symbols of eternity, and you can choose your favorite for a necklace, bracelet, or another accessory.

  • Decorate terracotta candle holders with brushes and acrylic paints. Arpine designs all the candle holders in the shape of houses so that, when finished, a small candle illuminates the windows.

  • Sculpt pieces of local clay into cups, small plates, or other accessories. Feel the clay and its elasticity, applying Arpine’s knowledge about local clay and its particularities. Note that the finished clay needs to be baked for three to five hours in order to harden, so this option is best if you will be staying overnight in the area or will pass through the village after traveling further south to places like Goris, Sisian, or Tatev.

Once you’ve satisfied your creative side, enjoy Arpine’s company over a cup of tea with some pastries or sweets while hearing more about life in Areni and how Arhestanots Studio is impacting local youth through art.

Meet your host

Meet Arpine Matevosyan, the founder of Arhestanots studio. While stuck in traffic one day in Yerevan, Arpine thought about making a dramatic change in her life. She was teaching crafts at a youth center in the capital but kept thinking about her birthplace: “I knew exactly what I wanted: clay, hook, painting, carpet. In 2019, Arpine’s dreams became a reality when she moved back home to Areni, an area famous for its wine production. Arpine does not consider herself a hero, nor does she try to qualify her activities as patriotic. But by taking initiatives and opening a workshop-studio in her hometown, she hopes to change the common perception that everything in Armenia revolves around Yerevan and to prove that Areni can offer more than just grapes and wine. Arpine wants to show how rural, daily life may offer new opportunities for creativity and learning.

My Armenia Program

My Armenia Program

My Armenia Program

My Armenia Program

My Armenia Program

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