Who says you can’t learn about the amazing world of ceramics virtually? I’ve just finished up a week of teaching pottery in a virtual camp to young students. We’ve had some clay projects and some 2 and 3D paper projects to explore ceramics and how they teach us about different cultures. The above screenshot of middle school students’ artwork shows the beautiful designs they came up with as they imagined themselves creating tiles in Florence, Italy during the Italian Renaissance period. Using the medium of their choice on paper, they emulated decorating a tin based white slip covered earthenware tile to learn about majolica. They also learned how trade from Spain brought the process to the country and the way it functioned in society.
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 post on 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.
Summer pottery class with older students in grades 3-6 were taught techniques to create work in clay. The older students were able to understand and grasp concepts in a different way than the younger students. Sometimes they were more hesitant to take chances, but when they did, they were rewarded. Their finished pieces show maturity and understanding of skills. Here is a look at a few of my favorite pieces from this 4 day summer pottery camp at Newton Community Education.
These imaginative students were a thoughtful group who found joy in creating with clay – yipee!
I’m excited to offer instruction to adult students this spring at Potters Place, my cooperative studio located in Walpole, Massachusetts. Details here.
Starting on Monday, May 2nd from 9am – 12pm, I will offer a pottery class for adult students of all levels. This class is 6 weeks with a maximum class size of 6 students. Students will explore clay in both handbuilding and wheel throwing projects – beginning with clay and ending with a fully functional piece of ceramics. The possibilities are limitless! Click here for details and how to sign up.
Further into the month of May, I will offer a 4 week class with a focus on “The Mug”. This class will take place on Tuesday mornings from 9:30am – 12:30pm beginning May 17th. This class is for intermediate students (can center and pull a cylinder most of the time). Class size will not exceed 6 students. More details here.
If you are looking for instruction and these opportunities do not fit with your schedule, click over to my website where I list additional options for students of all ages, including an option for a private lesson.
“Art, like play, helps children to understand their world. But art goes beyond play, enabling them to express their personal experiences and fantasies in ways that are concrete and compelling, even when they are unable to articulate the events in words” Nancy Beal, The Art of Teaching Art to Children
Today is the last pottery class of the session I have with my elementary aged students. Here are a few of my favorite pieces to illustrate how they expressed themselves with the tools I taught them.
More art instruction ~ class- one day, class – multiple days
Wedging is a necessary part of wheel throwing. Thank goodness I love it!
A potter wedges clay by hand to force out trapped air, align clay particles and prepare for wheel throwing. Wedging is similar to kneading bread.
The techniques for wedging clay are called spiral (pictured above), Rams head (pictured below), and wire slab wedging.
Rams head wedging is ideal for smaller amounts of clay and easy for small hands. Larger amounts of clay are easier wedged using the spiral technique.
******* Count to 100 with each ball of clay that you wedge 🙂 *******