Tiki Cups

This tiki lesson was a fun, somewhat simple lesson that the students seemed to really enjoy. After doing coil building, slabs, creating their own templates, we gave them a little bit of a break by providing them with a simple slab template to give them the base of the cup. For this, we used low fire red clay. We talked about creating emotion in art. I talked to the students about how to make someone look angry, mad, sad, happy, excited, etc. We discussed how to be successful in that by shaping the eyebrows, eyes, nose, mouth, all a different way. Students came up with their sketches. During the sketches, I had them choose ONE aspect of their tiki that they wanted to emphasize using color. The rest of the tiki was stained with a black underglaze and then clear.

This lesson was a fun alternative because it showed students a different way to glaze ceramic rather than just coating it with a glaze. After these were bisque fired, I then demonstrated how to stain their tiki. We used a watered down black underglaze and you can even make your own stain! We painted the wash all over the tiki, in all the crevices and textured areas especially. We waited about 5-10 minutes for the stain to dry. Then, I had students use a wet sponge to sponge off all of the extra stain, this left the crevices and textures dark, and created a cool look for their tiki. After staining, the students were able to glaze one small aspect of their tiki using color. Lastly, student applied 2-3 coats of clear glaze to the remainder of their tiki.

Overall, this was a really fun lesson to teach and the students seemed to enjoy it.

Sgraffito Pots

Sgraffito is such a fun technique to use! For this project, I had students work a little bit smaller than normal, and I had them really focus in on the intricacy and details that they could incorporate into their designs. I had them sketch some sort of design. We also talked about Emphasis, and I encouraged them to use a bright colored glaze for the inside, since the outside was mostly black and white.

I asked students to have a lid, a handle, and if they had time, some sort of foot. Students really enjoyed this technique because it gave them the opportunity to draw freely and easily incorporate some of their favorite designs and ideas into their ceramic artwork.

Included are a few of my favorite examples!


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Ceramic Tripod Mugs

After the first project on Pinch Pots, the second project on Coil Building, the third project ended up being a Slab Building project. Tripods were refreshing to do, especially after coil building, since many of the students were tired after the tedious process of layering and slipping and scoring coils. They were so surprised how quickly they could create a simple cup form by using the slab methods!

They were introduced to the word “template” and asked to create an original design that they could create with a basic tripod base. Students used rolling pins to create their slabs. The second day, once clay was leather hard, students were able to shape their slabs into a cylindrical shape. Then, I instructed students to create a triangle shape with their two hands, and they push one side of the cylinder together. They created a triangular bottom, and as long as they did it evenly, the form was able to be flipped over and supported on its own.

I encouraged students to create extra coils to reinforce the bottom, and to also smooth out the inside. They then got to work in creating their original designs. I found that these were extremely successful and it also allowed the students to focus on their own designs and glazing, rather than creating the form itself!

Have you done something similar to this? What other templates have you used? I’d love to hear! 🙂 IMG_2608 IMG_2607 IMG_2606 IMG_2605

High School Tripod Mugs Ceramic Project
High School Tripod Mugs Ceramic Project

Ceramic Coil Pots

First off, super excited with how these turned out. Secondly, incredibly proud at how hard my high schoolers worked on these!

This was their second ceramic project. After just finishing up pinch pot techniques, I had them focus on coil building. I had them sketch out ideas of what they wanted to make. They learned about the coil building process, and I also introduced them to the Elements of Art and Principles of Design.

They had to create a coil pot form (we talked about the difference between shape and form) that include either geometric or organic shapes. One great advantage to doing this, besides them learning about the Elements and Principles, is that I felt it helped them relax a bit with the smoothness of their form.

This was their first time working with red clay, because I wanted to show them a different option besides the gray clay. I also used this project to discuss more glazes with them. In the first project, they only used underglaze and clear. Now, I introduced them to matte glazes versus glossy. I discussed jungle gems. I also talked about the Stroke & Coat glazes (if you haven’t used them, they are great)! They are like if an underglaze and a regular gloss glaze had a baby. They are true to color and shiny!

With almost all coil projects I’ve ever done, I felt like this project did take quite some time. However, the kids stuck with it and really created some good stuff!

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Pinch Pot Pumpkins and Skulls

So it’s almost Christmas… and here I am finally posting about the Pinch Pot Pumpkins and Skulls that my high schoolers completed as their first project! Better late than never though, right?

I wanted to share this project because although it was my high schooler’s first project, I felt that they were all able to succeed in it. I had them sketch out ideas for either a pumpkin or a skull design. They needed to create their design by putting two pinch pots together. For example, a pumpkin would be a pinch pot upside down on a pinch pot that was right side up.

Students drew out colored sketches- they showed me which parts were going to be carved out, where they would add clay, add designs, etc.

After viewing, students worked on creating their pinch pots. I reminded them to keep walls consistent, lips even, and to really work on smoothing out their clay.

As far as glazing went, we stuck to just underglazes since this was their first project. After the bisque firing, we then painted a clear coat onto the top. I am so proud of these results. Please comment if you have any questions regarding this project!

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6th Grade Sculpture Ceramic Face Mugs

I decided to be daring with my crazy 6th grade class. The class that I had more students than chairs and table space, yet somehow I’ve managed to fit them all together. The class where all the skill levels are mixed, ranging from gifted and talented to absolutely no experience or interest in art.

This class is goofy, as most sixth graders often are. So I knew I needed a lesson plan that could hold their interest, while still giving them a wide range of creativity and the ability to expand on their ideas. I decided to create a lesson where students would create clay mugs, and then sculpt a face of some sort of the side of it. I wanted them to create mugs that had a ton of personality.

I recommend having students pass a basic clay tools and vocabulary test before they are working. This could include basic terms such as slip, score, needle tool, carving tool, metal tool, bone-dry, etc. One thing I did not include which I should have elaborated on way more is the variety of different clay tools and when it is best to use each one. That is something I ended up telling students as I went around and helped them individually.

Once students pass the basic clay test, then it is time to discuss the project. I showed students a variety of great sculpture examples, along with different styles of cups and mugs. I allowed them the creativity to expand beyond a basic shape, to play around with handles, to make a cup that is function versus a cup that is just nice to look at. Like I often do, I required that students handed in two completed sketches of two different ideas. I reminded them to include details and to consider how they could create a clay mug with personality.

I showed a demonstration to my students on how to create a clay mug by rolling out clay, creating a base, and attaching all of the pieces together by slipping and scoring. From there, they were allowed to change the shape into whatever way they wanted. I walked around individually and helped students, making sure to pass back their graded sketches so they had an idea of what they were trying to accomplish.

I graded these using my standard format for how I grade projects. 25% Subject Matter and Creativity, 25% Sculpting Clay, 25% Craftsmanship and Applying Glaze, and 25% Effort and Participation. Here are some of my favorites!

Crafts Clay Tile Triptychs

I want to share a very successful lesson that I taught my high school Crafts I students. Many of these student were taking Crafts as an Art class, rather than taking Art I. However, I still wanted students to gain a strong understanding of basic art concepts and vocabulary.

A great clay project that they worked on was to create an original triptych. Before doing so, I taught them about triptychs and showed them various art history examples of where triptychs could be found in real life situations. We discussed where they originated from, where they could be found, etc. If you are interested in the PowerPoint presentation that goes along with this, please let me know!

Another important concept that students had to learn before starting are the basic clay techniques. Many of these students had never worked with clay before so it was important to go over the most basic stuff. For example, clay dries out! We talked about how to properly store clay so that it would be workable for multiple days. We went over basic vocabulary such as slipping and scoring, clay tools and when to use them, etc.

I focused a lot of their attention of the difference between additive and subtractive techniques. That is, if they are adding clay onto their tile or if they are taking away clay and carving out their tile. Students had to pass a quiz on clay tools and techniques before I let them begin. I also had students sketch out their ideas before we moved on to clay.

Overall, I was very pleased with the results from this lesson. I realized that many of the students had no practice with clay up until this project, so it was really great to see the results. I opted to have this class paint with acrylic paint rather than glaze, and I really enjoyed the way they turned out. I had them seal it with an acrylic gloss to make it shiny and really seal the colors in.

Here are some pictures of the finished work!

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