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Lesson Plans

Re: ceramic books

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Robert Alexander Fromme (rfromme)
Sun, 29 Jun 1997 21:15:42 -0500

At 02:40 PM 6/29/97 -0400, jendixon wrote:
>I'm going to be teaching a course, at the high school level , in
>ceramics. As a painter, I'm a little warry of my ceramic skills and
>knowledge background. Does anyone have any good resource book that they
>could suggest for my summer reading?

I have many books about clay sculpture, pottery. kiln building, and glazes,
yet, I think Glen Nelson's text is still one of the best entry level books
with an assortment of history, technique, etc.

You may want to concentrate on specialized books about handbuilding
techniques unless you have several wheels in the studio. I would suggest
you visit a local clay and glaze supplier and look through the assortment of
books that they have on hand.

In the end, you would be better off getting your hands in the clay rather
then reading about it. Think about the equipment, budget, and class
size...... then start thinking about projects which will give the kids the
best variety of experiences with the resources at hand.

We usually work through assorted pinch pot projects, coil pots, slab forms,
drape and press molding, tiles, and assorted small sculpture projects, but
only the coil projects reqiure construction of more then 14 " in height
simply because storage and kiln space is so limited.

I let the kids use my wheel only the last two weeks of the Ceramics 1
semester. I usually walk each kid though wedging centering, opening, raising
and shaping and we throw one form toghether (My hands over theirs so they
can get a sense of the correct pressure and the timing in relation to the
spin of the wheel, the torque, gravity, etc. ). Then I let them try to do
one or tow on their own if they want. I never force a student to use the
wheel unless they request the experience. . I feel that if the students
really take an interest in the wheel, there will be plenty of time in
college for them to come at it again. After a BFA. MA, MFA and 20+ years as
a professional potter, I hope I am qualified to say that the wheel requires
a lifetime of dedication for mastery and the best a Ceramics 1 class can do
is give the kids a taste or the tool and its volcabulary. With the
handbuilding techniques they have more freedom and a better chance at success.

I should mention that we also spend a little class time talking about the
chemistry of clay and glaze as well as the fire. Each student is responsible
for helping load and unload the kiln. They are also responsible for written
tests and reading assignments (usually my handouts) as part of their course.