A grandson of ours loves to work with clay. He finds it's not easy to mold and form it into his desired shape, however. It takes practice, practice, practice and long hours of work and patience. Each of us is like a piece of clay with the potential to be molded and shaped into a beautiful and useful vessel. However, sometimes flaws or errors appear that must be repaired or when the clay is placed in the fiery furnace of the potter's kiln it will break or crumble.
We do not reach our full potential until we have been through the fiery heat of the potter's kiln--the trials in our lives. Then as we truly repent and center our lives in Christ, through the power of the atonement we will come forth from the fire transformed into an eternal being of beauty.
Dr. Viliami Toluta'u is a renowned sculptor and artist from BYU-Hawaii. He spoke to the Havelu Middle School students during the Ministry of Education Exposition for Tonga about the importance of using their hands, their eyes, and their minds to create and perfect a beautiful piece of art:Viliami's clay sculpture of a javelin thrower:Nia, the principal of Havelu Middle School, brought her students to the expo to help them appreciate their heritage. This tapa cloth 3-dimensional art is displayed in a doorframe.
These women are making tapa cloth for clothing. The bark is stripped from the mulberry tree, soaked in water and dried before the beating process begins and then pounded with a wooden beater on a wooden log. We can often hear the soothing rhythmic beating throughout the island. Tapa cloth is dried before being made into beautiful clothes:Liahona students design and complete their own lovely tapa cloth dresses:Works in Progress from Old Tonga: President Fehoko is well-known throughout the South Pacific for his beautiful wood carvings. His finished pieces are works of integrity and beauty. In the village of Popua he has developed and built Old Tonga as a project in family self-reliance and to preserve Tongan heritage and traditions of the island. President Fehoko is the fisherman who took President Monson out in a boat to demonstrate the octopus story. (See earlier blog.) This will one day be a finely carved chair. President Fehoko explains his wood carvings to the students. Note the fluid movement of the larger fish to catch the smaller fish (top right). A carved Kava bowl: A kali is a Tongan wooden pillow: Finely woven purses from coconuts leaves and other natural materials grown on the islands: Three-dimensional tapa cloth art: Artist’s creation of a tapa cloth dancing costume: Tapa cloth is highly valued by the Tongan community.“O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand” (Isa. 64:8)