During the 2018-2019 school year, one of the Fine Arts teachers at our school launched a new pottery program, and the students who signed up for the class were soon producing delightful pieces in clay. Hand-building was the main method of construction, and during the second semester some of the students began working on potter's wheels.

I've always offered sculpture projects in my art classes that use Sculpey synthetic clay--and in recent years I've included a few simple projects using real clay--but pottery has never been one of my areas of expertise. However, just a couple of days before the start of the 2019-2020 school year (due to last minute staffing and administrative changes), I learned that I would be taking over the pottery program. YIKES!

I had absolutely no time to get my pottery skills up to speed (much less plan for a year-long program), but a talented young man (and an accomplished potter who's done some teaching at summer camps for kids) was to be one of my students. He quickly agreed to take pottery as an independent study so that he could work on clay projects of his choice and also earn credit by doing demonstrations and by offering assistance to his classmates!

I still haven't had much time to hone my own throwing skills (fortunately, my "co-teacher" covers most wheel work), but between the two of us we've put together a program that students are enjoying!

They've learned pinch, coil, and slab construction techniques:

Whistles made using a pinch pot technique have been a big hit!



They've learned to use templates and how to imprint/stamp/impress slabs to create small boxes and other objects:




And they're learning how to make bas relief tiles that use both subtractive and additive sculptural methods:


Opening the kiln is always so exciting!



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