Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Penguin paints pottery in Pawcatuck

Updated: Monday, 17 Sep 2012

STONINGTON, Conn. (WTNH) -- Penguins at Mystic Aquarium may be a lot more talented than you think. One penguin in particular was able to go to a Pawcatuck pottery studio to strut his stuff.
Blue Blue is putting more than just blue paint on some tiles. The five-year-old African penguin is a trained artist. Well at least he's trained to extend his feet so trainers can put paint on them for creations.

"It can take many years for some of the penguins to get to the point where we can do something like we did today," said Sarah Dunn, Mystic Aquarium.
The training is tough because penguins don't eat much so they are not motivated by food rewards. They just need to get used to people.

The ceramic tiles and vases the penguins paint will be given out as prizes during Mystic Aquarium's annual penguin walk/run in October, which raises money for research and conservation efforts for these endangered sea birds.
"I know that the ones wearing blue bracelets are a boy and the ones wearing pink bracelets are a girl," said Keira Poquette, of Westerly.

Poquette usually makes her own creations at 'Get Fired Up' in Pawcatuck. Monday Poquette learned from a master.
"And they all have to catch him because they didn't want him to fall off the table," said Poquette.
There was no disturbing the artist at work. After the master pieces were created Blue Blue then went around letting the kids touch him.

It was a moment many had been waiting for.
"Well he was so soft," said Poquette.
Each tile will be glazed and then put into a Kiln so all Blue Blue's hard work will be baked on permanently.

"Goes up to 1,800 degrees and once it cools down a bit we take it out," said Jen Gale, Get Fired Up. "Everything is food safe, microwave safe, if it is a dish."
A place where everyone is an artist, even the little guy dressed for a much more formal occasion.


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