Monday, February 17, 2014

Apple Valley Elementary Clay Project

At the end of January I visited a local elementary school to lead a clay project. This was the second year of me doing this clay project with the kids, about 70 second graders. 

me telling them what to do. I look annoyed but I wasn't

The Apple Valley PTA has been organizing these events to supplement the nonexistent arts program at the school. Last weekend the Yakima Herald did a feature on the arts program. The images they show are from the sculpture project led by local artist Mindy Clark.

kids preparing the balls to go inside the bells

Four of my clay students joined me at the elementary school to help run the project. The PTA also brought in quite a few volunteers and the project went smoothly, for the most part.

kids adding slip to the scored edge of their pinch pots

We had the students make bells or rattles by forming pinch pots and attaching them to flat slabs of clay with small balls of clay inside to make noise. The whole group completed the project in less than an hour and most kids had a chance to decorate their bells.

kids decorating their bells

The lesson happened right before the Super Bowl and it looked as if they kids were in uniform, about half of them wearing jerseys and the rest in Seahawk colors.

a finished bell

Because of the timing of the project, there were also quite a few football themed bell decorations and I set my student volunteers to checking for strength in the field goal structures on top of the bells.

two finished bells

Back at YVCC, I had my class load the kids work into the kiln to bisque fire. My students were interested to see the clay was a different color and the volunteers told them how different the clay felt compared to our class clay.
I cut the kids faces out of the pictures because I didn't get consent from all of them to publish the pictures. The pictures with the kids are pretty cute.

My students at YVCC checked for strong attachments and made sure the kids all created pieces that would survive the firing without cracks or explosions. One of my students was surprised when she heard the internal ball rattling around inside the bell. They don't always make noise until after firing.

another finished bell
Next week the PTA volunteers will pick up the kids pieces and the kids will have a chance to paint their bells and take them home.

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