First of a series of meetings at the Cima Norma factory
Elementary school of Gorduno.
It’s 9:10 in the morning when I reach the car parking of the former chocolate factory Cima Norma in the town of Torre (Blenio Valley). I’m very excited, as this is the first meeting for my new project. My project! Really? Maybe I’m still dreaming… I pinch my arm, but…ouch! It hurts! Therefore, I assume this is reality. I wrap into the blanket that I use to leave in my car, ready for all eventualities. After all, everybody is able to bring along sweaters, and the air is quite cold here.
I’m really looking forward to meeting the kids, who are due to arrive any minute, coming with the public transportation from Olivone.
I already explained them what they should expect from this experience in the next months. Meetings, which will take place once in a month, will be dedicated to creativity, chocolate, and the factory. Together, we’ll understand how books come alive, from the very beginning (the idea), to the first sketches, the storyboard, and, at the end, the completed work. We’ll have the opportunity to find out more about the story of the factory, speaking also with former workers, and getting our hands dirty, by drawing, painting and creating objects with inspiring materials. And, if things go as expected, we’ll also set up a real exhibition, complete with invitations and the vernissage.
In order to overcome the problem of having “too white” pages, we begin, hands on notebooks, pencils and pens, to draw and paint. The question we’re trying to address is the following: “how is your ideal factory store?” try to draw it, both internally and externally. By observing their representations, I suddenly get a bit hungry. Chocolate- made green grass, candies, candy trees, a milk-chocolate river and sugar sticks.
After this experience, I explained them how a book can be created. I showed them all the components, because a book is made of different pieces, each one with a specific name.
In the afternoon, instead, we visited the “CacaoCollective” exhibition. Accompanied by the cocoa aroma, the crackling of the cocoa beans under our feet, and the background sound of the pluvial forest, we plunge into an unknown world. But the real surprise turned out to be the “cinema room”, as the kids were not expecting to find there the typical cinema seats, which can be easily found, instead, in places such as Cinestar or Forum.
Some of the kids decided to take notes, others, instead, just focused on listening and trying to understand, even if this was quite challenging, due to the multi-language character of the video presented (English, Spanish and French). Someone even found the time to take a nap. However, we were all able to learn a lot about cocoa plantations. The two teachers, even more than me, were astonished by the children’s attention and ability to remember what they had previously seen.
Last, we played the part of cocoa sommeliers. For each cocoa typology, we performed the tasting and we assigned a grade to our experience. The kids were deeply involved in the part, as if they were “true connoisseurs”. They were ruthless when it came to grades, but they also had a lot of fun in the end.
After the thanks and greetings, we arranged to meet the next 10th of October, in Gorduno, where the second meeting will take place.