As a “gig” worker, my summers were jam packed with lots of different classes and workshops where I’ve taught art and clay to students of all ages. Covid changed that for me and so many other instructors. Last summer I chose to teach virtually. It worked well. I learned to adapt. Thinking about summer 2021, I decided to return to in-person teaching. I took one full time job for 8 weeks teaching summer clay to campers grades 1-9. I didn’t make as much money as I could have teaching multiple shorter workshops, but it felt safer for me and safer for my young students, the majority of whom were too young to be vaccinated.
Interacting with new people, making friends, hearing the laughter of children and watching them create was joyful. I became part of a bigger community whose job was to provide a wonderful enriching summer for children in a time when that need could not have been greater. I think we succeeded as I look back on the amazing pottery the kids created…
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.
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.
My new collection is currently installed at the Dedham Square Artist Guild. The work has a wonderful feel and quiet beauty that although functional, stands alone as ceramic art. There are 6 pieces in this group … 2 small square plates, 2 small oblong trays and 2 larger square plates. The Guild is open Wednesday – Saturday 12-6, Sunday 11-2 in Dedham Square.
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.
Ben’s pinch pot dinosaur
Mairead’s pinch pot turtle
Brianna’s coil pot
“Create your own” utilizing pinch pots and coil
Mio’s “Create your own” utilizing slab, texturizing and scratch & attach with slip.
These imaginative students were a thoughtful group who found joy in creating with clay – yipee!
Students in grades 1-5 spent time in my classroom this summer. They learned techniques to work with clay and create pottery. Here is a look at some of my favorite pieces from each lesson.
Aanika’s Pinch Pot person
Textured Fish Bowls created from slab and coil
Jack’s Coil Pot
Elie’s “create your own” eric carle colorful caterpillar
Isa’s “create your own” dwarf
It’s a gift to work with children. Enjoy their creations pictured above 🙂
This Saturday, March 12th from 10am-2pm, the Westwood Recreation Department will host “March into Summer” (10% off registration fees when you sign up for summer classes March 12-15). I will be hanging out with other teachers and students talking up my summer classes: 2D and 3D Art in July. Wegmans is sponsoring this event.
3D Art ~ explore three dimensions while learning about carving, modeling and sculpture using recycled products, mixed media, clay and more. July 11-14.
2D Art ~ explore the mark on a flat surface while learning about graphite, colored pencils, watercolor and more. July 18-21
I’m thankful to the Westwood Recreation Department for providing a place where I can teach children to express themselves through creative means.
Lisa WB Walker and Hog Wild Pottery will host their one and only summer pottery sale at Powisset Farm this Saturday, June 13th from 10am to 5pm. Powisset Farm is near and dear to these potters because of their relationship with the farmers and people who work and love the land.
Powisset Farm is home to a farm stand that will feature local produce and local products, such as Crescent Ridge dairy, Lucy Two Shoes hand lettered tea towels, and loads of Peter’s honey and Blue Moon Cafe’s bread … It is a CSA with a long list of shareholders. And, it is a trustees of the reservation property with trails to hike on and vistas to enjoy.
Join us for a pottery sale, but join us also for the experience of how a farm works, what it means to stop and talk to another shareholder or farmer, to be a part of a community that feels the rhythm of the planting and growing season. Come eat lots of handpicked strawberries in beautiful handmade bowls!
As potters, we embrace the notion that food should be eaten on handmade ware. That color is important. That the relationship with the food, with the pottery and with the person it connects to all matter. We are blessed to share this vision with the powisset farmers.