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.
Inspiration for my Holiday 2017 Collection comes from my summer trip to Portugal.
Join me for the “first look” on Friday, November 17th 5:30-9PM at Potters Place opening reception for Holiday Show and Sale at 127 Old West Street, Walpole, MA. Show continues Saturday, November 18th 9AM-8PM and Sunday, November 19th 10AM-4PM. More information can be found at http://www.pottersplace.info
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!
“A picture is worth a thousand words”Is it? Show us! We are challenging all artists working in any medium to create new work with the theme “Word.” Will you translate common expressions such as “there are no words”… “I give you my word”…”word up”? Will you incorporate words into your work? Will you explore a world without words at all? We can’t wait to find out!
This Challenge is open to all artists, working in any medium, who work/reside in eastern Massachusetts. This magnificent show will be hosted in the lower gallery at the Dedham Community Theatre! 580 High Street, Dedham, MA. http://www.dedhamcommunitytheatre.com
October — November 2014 Challenge: WORD. A special exhibition hosted at the Dedham Community Theatre
Opening Reception: Thursday October 2nd, 6pm to 8pm. Exhibition Dates: October 2 to November 30
This piece may be purchased through the Dedham Square Artist Guild at www.dedhamguild.com
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!
On November 4th, I hosted a clay class for kids at the Dedham Community House. The class was an hour long workshop designed to give kids, 1st through 5th grade, exposure to clay. They learn techniques and create a piece of pottery. There is always a literary or art component to my classes so kids can take away an art history lesson as well as a hands on experience.
Having a theme is always fun and “Thanksgiving” is a great one! There is food, foliage, and many stories the kids want to share about their own Thanksgiving traditions. The kids start with a slab of clay to practice with. We talk about rolling coils for a frame. We talk about making impressions with objects such as leaves and stamps. We talk about attaching clay images to the tile by using the slip and score technique. We talk about carving into the clay.
Once they have had time to play and try out the different techniques, I give them a fresh clay tile. We stop for a minute to talk about Thanksgiving. I teach them about Norman Rockwell and show them pictures of his famous holiday meal painting. We talk about the students’ holiday traditions and then they begin their project.
Some of the students decide to make wall pockets with their tile, so we add holes. We let the clay dry a little and then the kids add color with paint.
After class, I take the tiles home to my studio where they have ample time to dry.
I paint them with a clear glaze fire them in a kiln at Potters Place. Once finished, I added a couple of items for the students … an easel for display or a pretty ribbon for hanging before packaging them up for the students.
I will be offering my next Clay Class for Kids on Monday, December 2nd. The theme will be “Animals”. The class takes place at the Dedham Community House from 3:15-4:15pm. The deadline to sign up is Friday, November 29th. Click here to register.
Here are options for clay classes offered by me:
If your child is interested in learning the basics of pottery, this class
is a great way to try it out. Each student will create a hand built item from about a pound of clay. Different dates will have different themes and teach new techniques.
The finished work will be left with the instructor to apply clear glaze and
fire it in a kiln. Families will be contacted when art is ready for pick
Monday, October 7th 3:15-4:15 pm theme: Halloween
Monday, November 4th 3:15-4:15 pm theme: Thanksgiving
Monday, December 2nd 3:15-4:15 pm theme: Animals
Clay Class ~ Commemorative Tile
Grades 5 – 8
This class will explore self expression in the form of a commemorative
tile. Students will design their project, create a 3 dimensional sculptural
tile, add details with colorful underglaze paints, coat the tile with a
clear glaze and learn about the kiln firing process (instructor will kiln
fire the completed work and contact students when ready for pick up)
Thursday, October 17
Thursday, October 24
Thursday, October 31 (no class – it’s halloween!)
Thursday, November 7
Thursday, November 14
Registration for classes … follow the link to Dedham Community House
Today, the students at Elm Street School used under glaze paints to add color and detail to their clay tiles. These tiles will be glazed with a clear glaze and fired in a kiln at Potters Place. Parent volunteers are coming to our studio to help with the glazing. The whole school is really into giving the students this wonderful experience! Next will be the finished tiles that will be … stay tuned for part three…