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Re:[teacherartexchange] clay

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From: mbortzfield (zbort_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sun Apr 27 2008 - 14:57:39 PDT


I too was afraid of clay the very first time I taught the medium to my
elementary school students, but ignorance is bliss! The kiln was
intimidating but not anymore, a few explosions happened here and there due
to air pockets but I simply had the students come during studio time and
gave them another opportunity to try again. I have even held greenware over
the summer so students may finish them the following year if I do not have
enough projects to warrant a full kiln firing.

I dove right in dedicating a whole month to just clay building and glazing.
Figuring if the room was going to be messy, so be it - might as well be for
everyone. (I too have a smart board and laptop along with janitors who
leave cobwebs on the window sills and dust everywhere, oh well.)

Clay is my students favorite unit and I cannot imagine not being able to
teach clay sculpture to them. I am fortunate enough to be in a district
where all the elementary schools have their own kiln. Thank goodness,
because my first year teaching my kiln broke and I actually personally
transported all the greenware to another school and fired there. Taking
work back and forth for weeks, working out a schedule with my colleague and
allowing everyone to create a clay project. Looking back, I was nuts!

I bought books to study, asked my colleagues and searched the internet for
tips then just went at it and I have not looked back. Currently, my
enrichment class after school are building fantastic bird houses with slab
technique. Newspaper wrapped around a coffee can allows a sleeve for the
can to be pulled out thus leaving a round hollow form waiting to be
decorated. One of my students created a snake head with it's mouth opened
for the bird to enter into it's home! It's body coils around the outside
then the tip of the tail and rattles are the hook on the top of the house.

Now how could I not teach clay sculpture?

mb in jersey

p.s. A great supplier of beautiful white clay is Ceramic Supply in Lodi, New
Jersey.

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