This school year I have successfully transformed myself and my 8th grade advanced art class into sculptors! Last semester I took a sculpture class at Folsom Lake College, where I got to learn different hand building techniques, throwing on the wheel and how to fire clay from a professional potter. I have never really had any experience with sculpting, and I was instantly hooked and determined to turn my students into sculptors, asap! By the end of the semester I had gotten approval and ordered about 800 dollars worth of clay, tools, glazes and throwing boards, and started my first clay unit with my advanced class. The kids LOVE working with clay, and they have a natural creativity that I can “mold” (yes, pun intended!) by introducing some technical tips.
The first project I assigned was a project using the coil technique of handbuilding. They had some freedom in the form they chose, (although I suggested a bowl, vase or mug), but they had to use coils to build it.
After the “greenware” is finished, I take it to Buckeye up the hill to fire in the kiln. Rolling Hills doesn’t have a kiln….yet….(I will work on that next year if I still have a job 🙂 ), so Buckeye generously lets me use theirs. After it is fired for about 12 hours it is called “bisqueware” and is ready to glaze.
The kids paint on the glaze just like paint, and 3-4 coats are necessary to look bold. It takes about 2 class periods for glazing.
After the pieces are glazed, I take them back up to Buckeye for the second firing.
After another 12 hours in the kiln…TA DA!!! Beautiful shining masterpieces!!
The completed coil projects!
For the next project we did I didn’t give them any form parameters, but they had to use a slab throwing technique to create at least one slab for their project. They came up with some amazing stuff!!