Monday, March 28, 2011

Wabi Sabi Wonderful

My 5th graders completed their Wabi Sabi pots by adding symmetrical handles

and using their signature stamps to initial their pot...

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Pinch Pot Techniques

Second graders are mid-way through their fish sculptures. A colleague of mine, Nancy F, taught me this many moons ago & it's always a big hit with my kids!

Students were taught 3 pinch techniques:
the 'okay' sign was used to pinch their piece of clay into 2 sections -- 1 smaller than the other.

The 'baby bye-bye' was used to pinch the smaller section into the tail fin.

The mouth (larger section) was formed with straight thumb and fingers - only the thumb was allowed inside the mouth (it was a 'Thumbs Only' clubhouse - no fingers allowed!). This method helps prevent wide, thin walls of the mouth.

We have begun to add the details of eyes, dorsal and pectoral fins with options for teeth & tongue.

Don't you just love the personalities!!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Wall to Wall to Shelf to Counter Ceramics

With all 29 classes working in clay right now, I'm starting to run out of space to store all the work!

There are wrapped boxes on top of my sink wall cabinets...

More on top of the bookshelves...

On the counter, hidden behind the drawing books...

And of course - on shelves in the kiln room!

Not pictured are the 9 stacked bread trays with the graded/labeled work that is drying...

Fortunately, the bisque firings will begin next week followed by glaze firings and slowly they will make their way either home or to the annual District Art Exhibit...

Friday, March 25, 2011

7 classes & 200+ pots...

My third graders read the book "The Pot That Juan Built" and are finishing their coil pots. I LOVE coil pots but with 7 groups of 3rd graders - that's a LOT of pots to keep track of so...

Each class uses a different shaped base so I can differentiate if they get mixed up (and trust me - they always do!).

Every student gets a construction paper shape in a different color - they use this as both a name tag and a template to cut around for their base.

So we have yellow circles

gray squares

pink triangles

light blue rectangles

white ovals

beige diamonds

long tan rectangles.

Glad I don't have EIGHT groups...

Monday, March 14, 2011

4th Grade Dragons

On Spring Break here (or as I like to call it - Woo Hoo Week) so of course I had to spend the first day working in my room. Sorting through stacks of graded work for examples that can go in our Spring Art Show, shoveling out *stuff* from the storeroom, going through new 'donations' from a teacher leaving at the end of the year and cutting up cardboard boxes for braiding looms.

I thought you might like to see pix of ceramic dragon rattles we made in 4th grade a few years ago...

These artworks were kept for an end-of-year exhibit that somehow did not get back to their owners. I keep them in a glass display case until they're claimed...

We made the base for these by connecting 2 pinch pots with a few clay beads inside for the 'rattle'. After viewing many examples of dragons from China and other cultures, we added legs, tail, neck & head. Some students went further with wings, spiked tails and multiple heads...

Last step in formation was adding a variety of textures. Color was added with watercolor after the bisque firing. I encouraged pattern when painting to 'jazz it up'!

This year, my 4th graders are creating Storytellers (pictures in few weeks) but I may go back to dragons next year - they always have such great personalities!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Clay Sculpture in First Grades

My first graders are finishing the construction of their 3D ceramic imaginary animal sculpture, building on their knowledge from the previous 2D animal paper collages.

Look how happy this guy is!

Students also had to create a habitat for their animal...

I love these ventilated crates - the work dries so much quicker & thoroughly than when placed on a solid shelf. I found these black ones at Treasures 4 Teachers a few months ago. I also use donated stacking bread trays.

Each 1st grade class has a different color for their name tag (this class had white) which is thrown away once I've written the name and class code on the bottom of the base.

The work should be ready for the bisque firing when we get back from Spring Break on the 21st of this month...

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

In with the new, out with the old

I finally succumbed to one of the million viruses floating around school late last week and am slowly making it back to the land of the healthy. Only missed one day of school but my voice is still not great - especially with all the clay dust floating around my room these days!

I thought I would share pix of my newest table cloths that I use for clay classes. The kids were so excited to have such a variety! My previous ones were bought at Halloween closeout sale - 8 orange tablecloths at $1 each was a smokin' deal at the time...

Some of the new tablecloths celebrate the upcoming St. Patrick's Day...

Others are Easter-themed...

And a 'Happy Birthday' just for the fun of it!

Most of these flannel-backed vinyl tablecloths were bought on sale at Joann's Fabrics or at a discount from Big Lots. Using these along with the clay placemats (cut from scraps of awning material donated to the artroom) REALLY cuts down on the dust & cleanup. My old ones were bought about 5 years ago & were full of taped up holes/tears so we were ready for something NEW!

My kiddos are taught how to fold the the tablecloths into thirds lengthwise and then rolled up tightly to be put away in the cabinet. It quickly & efficiently clears away the mess for the next non-clay class...

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Today was the day to setup for Youth Art Month at the Phoenix Art Museum. Any teacher in AZ who is a member of AAEA was eligible to submit 2 pieces of student work for an exhibit held at the Museum during the month of March.

The student exhibit was held in the Wolfswinkel Education Center at the Museum.

In the photo above, the top right artwork is one of the wonderful Radial Symmetry paintings my 5th graders did.

The fourth from top left is one of our collagraph prints from 4th grade.

The parent & student reception will be held on Wednesday, March 23rd. The best part? Free admission to the museum on Wednesdays!! Woo Hoo - icing on the cake...

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