– Mrs. Zimmerman, my high school ceramics teacher
This past week was officially dubbed as “World Cultures and Clay”, or better yet, “Clay-strava-ganza” week. All of my students, from the wee little PreK’s to my Facebook obsessed 7th graders, worked with clay in some way, shape or form. The process was both challenging and messy for my students — some of them, using clay for the first time. Not enough water created too many cracks in the clay, which were hard to cover when painted over; too much water made the clay pot fall apart. Some didn’t know quite how to handle the clay while others washed, cleaned and wedged their pieces to near perfection. Each class was assigned a culture/period in art history to work with, and out of it came an interesting assortment of pinch pots, figurines, tiles, coil pots and bowls.
This was a great way to relieve stress and use our hands to create 3D art at long last. Because it’s such a challenging medium to work with, even the usual troublemakers were practically silent, molding their clay pieces and striving to make the best art ever. I kept having flashbacks from my high school ceramics class that I took my senior year, nearly a decade ago and was happy to impart my knowledge of clay pottery with my students.
That being said, I am super impressed with the materials purchased for this project. Since we don’t have a wheel or a kiln at the school, I made good use of the AMACO self-hardening clays: Mexican red clay and White Stonex, as well as the Crayola Air-Dry clay. Students will finish painting, decorating and varnishing this week and I can’t wait to see the results. Gettin* messy on the job ain’t a bad thing!