At Linscott School where the illustrious Miles (my 12 year old) attends there are not what we generally think of as “Electives.”  Instead the middle school has several “exploratory” courses to choose from.  The selection of courses changes every three months or so.  The sessions are 1.25 hours long and occur twice a week.  Last November I undertook teaching a ceramic hand building exploratory to 14  6th, 7th, and 8th graders.  Among the techniques they learned were rolling slabs, joining clay, texturing clay, making pinch pots, and finding ways to personalize pots.  Here’s several slide shows of the beautiful creative things they made.

The first project was a soap dish and a candle holder. Various small sculptural surprises appeared as warm ups for a larger sculptural project to come.   The next more difficult project was a mug.  Students were encouraged to personalize their mugs with texture and/or imagery.

The final project was “the orb.” Students began by making two pinch pots. These were then joined together by scoring and moistening their rims.  A coil was added over the join for reinforcement.  Once the orb was sealed so that it was filled with air and allowed to firm up a bit students could pound and paddle the orbs into a desired shape.  They had four requirements to complete the project:

  1. It had to be completely covered with texture and embellishments.
  2. It must have some kind of attachment(s) on it.
  3. It must include some use of a contrasting color of clay.
  4. Any large additions to it must be hollow as well.

Beyond that there were no restrictions. Some made their projects abstract and some went with realism. When given the opportunity there is never a lack of ideas with Linscott students. Such an abundance of creativity!

And here are the fabulous final projects glazed!