For the last few years, I’ve been accompanying my friend and fellow Potters Place potter, Susan Brum to elementary schools in Walpole to work on tiles with 5th grade students. We work with the art teachers to help them realize their goal to have their students work with real clay.
Prior to our arrival, students have worked on a layout for their tile. It is our job to teach them to transform their two dimensional drawing into a three dimensional tile. We visit each school twice. The first time, we instruct the students how to create their tile s. The second time we teach them how to use ceramic paints to add detail and finish off their pieces.
Sue and I hand cut all the tiles for the students from a low fire clay. We make up slip and bring extra clay for each student. All this prep work takes place at our pottery studio: Potters Place. When we arrive at the schools, we work with each student to help them think about how to translate their work to the tile. We teach them to slip and score, roll coils, incise and add. These subtractive and additive methods are the tools the students use.
These 5th graders are on their way to creating beautiful tiles that reflect their interests. Here are some of the results from today’s class at the Elm Street School:
To find out more about Potters Place and how we share our love of clay with the community, click here.
Next week we paint! Stay tuned!
Over the course of a few short winter months, I will have had the opportunity to work with 5th grade students in 3 different schools. Bringing artists into the classroom is rewarding for students, teachers and the greater community.
Using wet clay, the students are taught to create a three dimensional tile from a two dimensional format. Watching the students respond to the clay is always interesting. They have to think outside the box to solve problems involving spatial relationships, how to minimize details, how to reproduce a flat object into a three dimensional form and more. There is technique to learn when working with a new medium such as “score and slip”, coil rolling, incising and the proper way to build up the tile.
There is nothing better than experiencing the student who has the “ah ha!” moment as this one did with the tile pictured above. He struggled to create the perfect moment when the ball swished through the net. I’d say he was quite successful!
Potters Place is a not for profit school and cooperative studio. Our mission statement encourages member artists to look for ways to share their love of clay with the surrounding communities. Today, Sue Brum and I visited the Elm Street School and worked with eighty! 5th grade students, their teacher and parent volunteers. We demonstrated how to translate the students’ two-dimensional drawings into three dimensional clay tiles. The tile pictured is just one of the tiles the students created today while learning clay techniques. Next week, these tiles will be dry and ready to be painted by the students…. part two…