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Gardiner Museum

Fashion, Food & Gender

Fashion, Food & Gender

Available for education groups of all levels


This program is created for high school students enrolled in the family studies program.  However, it can be adapted for other grades and courses.
There are 3 possible options for this program.  The following options are available as a half day program running in the morning or afternoon.  It is 2 hours in length.

Option 1
Fashion and Identity
Fashion has long played a role in defining character and/ or social status.  Bring your students to the Gardiner museum for a tour and clay class focusing on our incredible Commedia Dell’Arte exhibition.  Here, students will explore our small 18th century porcelain figures which represent the famous characters seen in the Italian street plays.  After the tour, students will proceed to our studios to work with a professional ceramist and create clay masks which depict emotions and/or a message, much like those seen on the figures.    

Option 2
Food and Function
Pottery has long been associated with food.  As far back as 18,000 years ago when the first vessel form was created out of clay in China, people knew they had found a great medium for holding, serving and creating delicious food.  Students will tour around the Gardiner Museums collections and view the various ceramic vessels from the Ancient Americas to 18th century Europe.  How are these vessels representational of the food they are associated with?  Do their shapes, decorations and colours give us a clue?  After the tour, students will proceed to our studios to work with a professional ceramist and create their own vessel that both represent a particular food and depict a particular perception of food.

Option 3
Representation of Women
The human figure, and women in particular, have always been a subject of artistic representations in clay.  This art form, which has been dated back as far as 31,000 years ago still holds true with artists today.  Whether in sculptural form or painted on the surface of a vessel, women have been shown represented in relation to their domestic obligations, child bearing and child rearing activities.  Take a tour around the Gardiner Museum collections to see these representations for yourself.  Following the tour, students will work with a professional ceramist in the studio and create tiles with incised images depicting women’s roles today, paying particular attention to parenting, home and careers.

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Fund, Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Government of Ontario.