For the first three sessions, the art instructor, Gabrielle Neuschwander, came to our school to teach our K - 8 students techniques on creating heart-shaped and round dishes, owls and three-heart hooks. What impressed me the most about these projects was that once you know the basic technique, they are relatively simple to make for all ages.
1) Roll out a piece of clay to about a 1/4 inch thickness. To make them multi-coloured, both brown and gray clay is used either in a marble effect or grey clay of various shapes was added on top of brown clay, then rolled into a single piece with a rolling pin.
2) Cut out a heart, using a large heart-shaped cookie cutter (about 15 cm in diameter).
3) For texture, lay a doily or other material on the clay and roll the rolling pin over it.
4) Position a small (about 7 cm) hard clay heart in the centre of the large heart and push don as far deep as the sponge allows. Pushing down gives the dish its raised edge.
Every students, no matter what their ability, was successful and happy with their projects!
Potters' WheelOur final three clay art sessions took place at the Portage Arts Centre. Students continued receiving instructions on hand-building with clay. In addition, they had their first experience at the potter's wheel. Watching Gabe demonstrate the technique gave us the impression it was totally effortless and that she makes the clay do whatever she wants. However, we quickly learned that was not the case. As one adult students said, "When I try, they clay does with me what it wants."
Nonetheless, here too under Gabe's expert instructions and guidance, each student managed to create a lovely dish.