|my daughter's vase with five glaze colors|
Last week I visited my daughter's 4th grade class and had the students make coil pots. Most of these kids had done at least one clay project with me before this. Here are the results of the project.
|fourth grade coil built pieces|
Most of the kids these year were in the same class last year because they looped up with their teacher, so most of them were in the class last year when we made critters from molds. Some of the kids were also in the class the year before when we made wind chimes (which is not my favorite clay project, and apparently I didn't even write about it in the blog), and the year before that when we did Salmon Bells and the year before that when we made plaques of the life cycle of a butterfly.
|the bottom coil on the front piece is slightly lighter clay than the clay of the top coils|
I used to go to my daughter's pre school and do clay projects, like this simplified bell project and a super fun version of a name plate (Derek's still makes me laugh), but none of these kids were in her preschool. I also used to do a second grade clay project at another school every year, but their organizers changed and chose not to do the project this year.
|both hearts were glazed in clear with some colored glazes highlighting the interior textures|
So this year's group had lots of kids who'd had one or two or three or four years of doing clay, albeit once a year. The district elementary schools don't have art in the classroom or as a "specialist" class like music or PE, so the kids don't get to do much art ever. Strangely, their report "cards" have a spot for art, but I'm not sure what they measure. Maybe my clay project is it.
|many of the students put handles on their coil built shapes|
I figured that kids at this age with or without much clay experience would be dextrous enough to build with coils and could listen to directions well enough to to make a structurally sound vase or mug in about an hour. I think the vast majority of the kids would have like to have more than an hour, but they were all basically successful.
|this student was very careful about adding different textures to each coil, so we decided to glaze each with different colors|
One student had a base that came detached from the walls of the piece, but I was able to reattach it using glaze as a adhesive. Another student had a decoration come off the wall of his or her piece, but that accident was helped along by one of my adult students who was loading the kiln and bumped the dry piece against the shelf.
|some students added decorations to their pieces that seemed to call for contrasting colors|
It would have been nice to have the students glaze their own pieces, but in just an hour I wanted the students to concentrate on building, not adding colors. Also I was a little concerned about students getting glaze on the bottoms, or getting their just-built pieces so wet from the glaze that the walls became soft and fragile.
|the angel is glazed in clear with another color on the coils|
Obviously if I had the students in class on a regular basis, they could have built and glazed their work over the course of several days (or weeks). Next year I might suggest a project where we come back and have the students glaze.
|the coils in the mustache mug were done with clear over a wash of another glaze, the eyes on the other mug were hard to see before I highlighted the eyebrows. I think the cup on the right had its base reattached with glaze.|
I ended up glazing the pieces myself with help from my daughter. It seemed a little heavy-handed to glaze the work for them, but I also thought the students would enjoy having glossy pieces. I initially planned to just glaze everything with a simple coat of clear, but when it came to it, I discovered I didn't have much clear.
|this student added little balls of clay under some of the coils, they were fun to highlight with another color glaze|
I did have a variety of glaze colors in pints and smaller sizes. I don't use these glazes a lot, so I figured we could use them on the students stuff and maybe use them up. I had some glazes that would highlight textures, but I also used some to highlight different pieces the kids used in their coil building.
|this mug had so much going on that we tried most of the glazes on it|
|the piece on the right is the only one that is has a permanently closed top|
|this one has stars all over the inside which we tried to highlight with Copper Averturine|
We used Amaco's Clear Transparent, Deco Gloss Mocha, Artist's Choice Green Float, Camel and Burnt Orange, and Mayco Elements Copper Aventurine and Malachite. The Camel and Burnt Orange don't really highlight texture, but I was hoping the Aventurine would. It showed variation with application, but was also a bit distracting, at least the way we applied it.
|I think this one also has Copper Aventurine|
|on the mugs with smoother surfaces, we tried using some of the more opaque glazes like Mocha|
All the pieces were made with some recycled clay from last year which is a mix of whatever I had around the studio. The mature or vitrification temperature of the clay is unknown. Additionally, I didn't realize this until we were in the middle of the project, but some of the clay in the bag I brought was slightly redder in color due to what was recycled. This may not have been a bag of the clay the kids recycled with me, it may have been some I recycled in a pillowcase later in the summer (the link is not where I learned this originally, but that may have been a Facebook post).
|this footed bowl has mocha inside and probably Aventurine outside|
|the bowl on the left has Copper Float on the outside, I believe|
One of the risks of working with kids is that they apply too much glaze or get it on the bottom. I carefully cleaned off all the bottoms before loading the kiln, but we also glazed the handles and walls all the way to the bottom, meaning that if I set the pieces right on the shelf, the handles were likely to stick and the glaze on the walls might melt down and stick, too.
|drips on the bottom of my daughter's vase|
To prevent that kind of trouble, I fired everything on stilts and was glaze I did. Only two dripped, but one dripped from the inside right through a faint crack in the floor and would have stuck to the shelf. My daughter's also dripped slightly down the walls and onto the bottom. Because we stilted it, it didn't stick and now sits nicely on the table.
|drips running through the floor of Giselle's mug|