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!
Transitioning from elementary school to middle school can be an exciting and terrifying time. Intuitive art teachers have found that creating a commemorative piece allows a transitioning child to explore who they are before they move to middle school to increase self awareness and promote self esteem . By creating a piece in clay, students use multiple disciplines (their brains and their hands).
Susan Brum (Hog Wild Pottery) and I helped 5th grade students at the Boyden School in Walpole create these tiles (pictured) by providing them with a “wet clay” tile, teaching scratch and slip technique, and gently guiding them toward their goals. It was their art teacher who helped them develop their original sketches, will help them paint with colorful glazes and ultimately fire their pieces in their very own school kiln.
At Potters Place, my cooperative studio, we enjoy working with these teachers to help them reach the goals they have for their students. The commemorative tile project is something all 5th grade students can benefit from.