"CLAY! CLAY! CLAY! IT'S CLAAAAAYYYYY!!!"
--said all art students everywhere
As 7th graders, my students have pretty much told me "we've done that before" to every lesson I ever introduce...and this lesson was no exception They are pretty experienced in their opinion and are always shocked when I have the same response of, "That's great! Then you have practice and will be able to take it a step further and make it even better than before when you do it this time around!" And just as I had anticipated, they all try something new with these old skills and create beautiful artwork!
I started with a PowerPoint (typical) with an overwhelming number of examples (I want to overload them so that they are full of ideas but not trying to copy just one image they saw and liked) of characters and/or things made from pinch pots...many of which, they couldn't believe ever started as pinch pots. Then I had them brainstorm. I had each of them sketch out what they wanted to make, showing me a front, side and rear view of the item. I informed them that not only does this help them plan, but it allows me to help them when they get stuck, because I know what they are trying to do.
In 7th grade, it starts getting difficult to gather around a table to watch demonstrations so I created a video (found above and here ) which reminded them of how to make a pinch pot (start with a ball of clay, thumb in the middle, pinch outward) and how to replicate that pinch pot so that they have two that can fit together. I reminded them of scoring their clay and using slip as a clay "glue" to keep their pieces together (I remind them that as kids they often call this "scratch and attach"). I show them how they can make coils, slabs, and clay models to add any and every feature they would like to incorporate to get their end product...and of course, the inevitable reminder: everything must be slip and scored together! And last but definitely not least, I reminded them that all hollow forms must have a place for the air to escape while it is in the kiln, so we used pencils and kabob sticks to poke holes through the hollow forms to avoid clay explosions. While it is all in fast motion in the video, I keep reminding them of the steps while they work. Luckily, I only had one casualty with this assignment. And when I tried to reassemble the piece, I was able to see that he had put a hold in his work but the hole did not go all the way through his thick clay walls; ahh, to catch the culprit!
The creativity and variety of ideas never ceases to amaze me. The kids did a great job (I know I say that a lot) and I am so proud of their work! I wish I had taken more photos, but as they worked, I helped, therefore, I was covered in clay and didn't want to cover my iPad in clay as well. And then, of course, I forgot to photograph the majority of them before they went home. But I will still post the few pictures I took because they are definitely brag worthy!
In the photo below, you can see a student in the background painting her character with ceramic glaze (she was absent the day we first glazed) among finished pieces. I offered the students the option to glaze their work or to paint it with acrylics. The students who painted their work, then put a coat of clear varnish over the top to give it a glazed look aka make it glossy.
And to think, they all started like this: