Teaching teens pottery is a different experience from teaching elementary aged students even though there may be only a small age difference. Teens in middle and high school have had many more life experiences. They have acquired more creative tools. Their work has time to develop with a daily interaction with clay. Here is a look at what they created in our week long class this summer.
Teens explored building castles using coils and slabs. From left to right: clay is used to create buildings; castles are glazed in bright colors; artwork is finished with a glaze firing in the pottery kiln. Below are a few more finished pieces.
Once the students were familiar with architecture, they started their second project: architectural tiles.
The results were very unique and exciting to see. Starting with a clay slab, the students used their imagination to take the next steps. They then moved on to glazing and the tiles were fired.
For the final project, the students created a functional piece. They began with a flat two-dimensional slab of clay and turned it into a three dimensional mug. The theme was animals but some decided to move away from topic and create an original piece.
It’s always a great experience to teach clay for Newton Community Education! Check out my poston what the elementary aged students created during their weeks of summer pottery class.
I had a great summer teaching pottery to kids in grades 2-5. They were fun and creative and seemed to really enjoy the experience of working with clay. Here’s a look at some of the projects we worked on in Week 1.
Coral Reefs: before with wet clay and after with colorful glazes.
Here is a look at the projects we worked on in Week 2:
Pinch pot animals, sea creatures or fish (and the cookie monster!)
Covered jars in the form of a favorite dessert.
It’s always a great experience to teach clay for Newton Community Education! Check out my next post on what the teens created during their week of summer pottery class.
During the time the theme was announced, I was beginning my second of two drawing classes in Newton; a class is a perk of being an instructor for Newton Community Education where I currently teach clay to all ages. I was humbled and frustrated by the place I found myself when I arrived at my drawing class this fall, but by spring these two teachers had lead me past mental roadblocks and set me on the path of rediscovering my voice with skills that I could take to the clay surface.
I began working with a drawing of my hand holding the stem of a peony as a self portrait. The peony is the flower that blooms every year around the time of my wedding anniversary; it signifies the memory of the transition into a new role of wife and subsequently motherhood in a year that my children have left home. The negative space around the image in white is the silhouette of a woman’s shape. The pink of the peony, the gentle grasp of the stem, the soft form all suggest femininity to me. I worked on these two pieces at the same time, starting first with the bowl and moving to the plate.
When I look at the two pieces side by side, I see a bowl with an image on the left and a ceramic statement on the right. The bowl is a piece you might hang on a wall and contemplate in an intellectual manner. The plate is a form and image interacting as one. An only a utilitarian form can do, it invites you to interact by touch when the surface image draws you in. The two pieces together are a metaphor and entrance to my storytelling in this self portrait. Other pieces will follow to create a larger collection.
My process for creating these two pieces began with wheel thrown well made forms with a handmade swirl in the center to emphasis the human component of pottery. Once trimmed and in a “suede” state, I use a pencil to transfer my drawing. The lines are carved and then inlaid with green underglaze. Masters of this technique are Kristen Keiffer, Michael Klein and Julia Galloway, contemporary ceramicists who use Mishima in their work. Space is defined by layers of white and blue underglaze before the forms are dried and fired to bisque. Glazing has three layers and uses the characteristics of a clear glaze in conjunction with other glazes to enhance the surface decoration.
Below are pictures of my pottery next to the source of inspiration.
If you are interested in purchasing pottery from me and are unable to visit me at the Potters Place show and sale over the weekend of May 3rd – 5th, please email me to discuss additional options for purchase.
Making clay baskets can be complex forms to create. They are born on the potter’s wheel, the place where I do my best thinking, as small shapes that begin as bowls and then transform into objects of whimsey. The rim of the pot becomes a place to alter: roll it, split it, cut it, pinch it … each action creates a different result.
Once the wheel thrown pieces are trimmed or finished, hand pulled handles are added to each piece. The shape of the basket determines where the handle is placed in order to create a functional form.
When the clay is still malleable, I take the opportunity to add decoration to the surface. Handmade, found and manufactured stamps are added to make each piece unique.
Once bone dry, underglaze colors are added to “pop” the pieces. These one of a kind baskets are now ready to head into the kiln where they will be fired to cone 06 and then be ready to hold glaze.
I decided on a satiny white liner and an opal glaze to emphasize the underglaze colors. One characteristic of the opal glaze is its movement; it can drag or pull the color down the pot that is vertical. I use this knowledge to create the effect I am looking for. The baskets head back into a kiln and are fired to cone 6.
The baskets are now completed pieces of pottery. They are ready to make their way out into the world as useful and beautiful handmade objects.
My spring session of Kids Clay included mostly repeat students. This allowed me to introduce more difficult projects and let the kids make more creative choices. We focused on three main projects that were multifaceted. We reviewed basic techniques, such as pinching, coiling, texture, slab and attaching to build the final work. Students enjoyed the “play” factor: moving the pieces around to create their own stories. It was a joy to see their creative solutions.
Project One: Turtles in their environment
Project Two: It’s my Birthday
Project Three: Pretend you are a scientist and you discovered a new species of animal. Create that new animal.
Potters Place Spring Show and Sale opens this Friday! Please join me for open studios where 20 clay artisans will sell their one of a kind pottery. Sale hours are: Friday, May 4th 5:30pm – 9:00pm, Saturday, May 5th 9:00am – 8:00pm, and Sunday, May 6th 10:00am-4:00pm. Details
Here is a sneak peak of what I’ll be selling at Potters Place.
Potters Place will be raising money for A.L.S. Family Charitable Foundation in a special section of pottery that has been donated by Potters Place members. Meet the potters of Potters Place at the Opening Reception on Friday, May 4th. The event is open to the public. Saturday, May 5th at 9:00am, the seconds “less than perfect” sale begins and continues til all is sold out.
Buy handmade for Mother’s Day, Spring & Summer weddings & birthdays, plus graduations & bridal showers. If you can’t make the show, please stop in at one of the many galleries that sell my art. Details here: www.lisawbwalker.com
The apple blossoms this spring were everywhere… perhaps it was the wacky weather or the fact that spring seemed to take forever to get here, all I know is that everywhere I looked, the flowers were blooming. The tree in my own front yard brought a smile to my face every time I returned home.
Life inspires art and as I sat down to create new work, the apple blossoms collection began. Using an actual twig from my tree, assorted hand carved and purchased stamps, I “drew” my clay pictures taking inspiration from shapes of my molds.
Once the clay was bone dry, I used my watercolor underglazes to add color to the images before loading them into the bisque kiln.
Out of the first kiln, the collection was glazed and loaded into the 2nd kiln to add functionality to each piece. At each stage, the flowers welcomed me and provided a memory that symbolized spring, rebirth, change, peace, beauty and more.
Tonight, Sue Hoy and I will host a reception at our Guild in Dedham Square. We are featured artists of the month for August. Please join us from 5-7PM for wine, cheese and ART at the Dedham Square Artist Guild located at 553 High Street in Dedham, MA.
Lisa W B Walker Summer Collection 2016
Sue Hoy Summer Oil Paintings
About the Artists
“As an artist, I am trying to capture the spirit of my subject by reducing details
and concentrating on light and shape. My paintings are rich in color and
bold in brushwork. I am inspired by nature’s beauty and the chance to interpret
it in simple, yet compelling ways.”
Sue Hoy is a painter, graphic designer and art teacher living in Milton MA.
Her inspiration comes from her family and the endless beauty of New England.
Choosing subjects that capture attention and emotion, Sue strives to simplify shape
and color to reflect the essence of her subject. Her voyage toward simplicity,
versus over-working and illustrating with paint, is ongoing. Her paintings have
been in numerous shows in Massachusetts and she currently has a solo show at
Abby Park in Milton, MA. She teaches painting and clay classes for children
in the Milton public schools and at Milton Art Center.
UMASS Dartmouth, BFA Visual Design
Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Studio Art/Painting
Lisa WB Walker
I fell in love with a color: Robin’s egg blue; and, it defined summer for me.
Early morning bird calls greet a warm rising sun that announces day break.
Watch the soft wind blowing a sheer textured curtain as you lay blinking sleep from
your eyes. You are young, free from school, and you feel what summer really is.
Lisa W. B. Walker is an Artist working in clay who lives in Westwood, Massachusetts.
She creates wheel thrown or hand built functional ware to explore surface decoration
in order to create one of a kind original work. Lisa received her Studio Art Degree
from Skidmore College, continuing with additional classes at the Museum School
of Fine Arts Boston and the Art Institute of Boston. She writes a weekly blog, www.lisawbwalker.wordpress.com, participates in local arts related community
service, and, shares her knowledge through teaching, workshops and demonstrations.