Thursday, April 11, 2013

CLAY: Organization


Let's just talk a bit about clay. Clay and I haven't gotten along in the last few years. Growing up, I loved working with clay and my art projects always turned out great. However, college made me scared of it.

I took Ceramics I and everything changed. The expectations of a college-level project are much higher than elementary (go figure), and even high school. I'd never used a pottery wheel before, so that was my biggest challenge. I remember coming out of the studio furious and covered in clay from head to toe. People, I had clay in my armpits! Needless to say, I think I made a C in the class but I was happy to have it over with and didn't care. I thought I'd never have to deal with clay again.

Here we are, 3 years later, and I see clay on an everyday basis. I could probably write a novel about all the things I've learned about how to teach clay, organize clay, cut clay, fire clay, etc.... but today I will focus on the organizational part. I will do a series on the others if anyone is interested!

Ok, on to some pictures because my rambling is getting old...

Room setup is key!! Having a center table for clay demos and supplies has really helped. I have students stand around the table (with hands in pockets or behind backs) to watch demonstrations.

This is a closer view of the center table. No, it's not pretty but it does the job. Under the table are tools, place mats, aprons, etc.

Plastic bags are your friend. Just make sure they don't have holes in them. I only see students once a week, so we have to store them in bags to keep the moisture inside.
Close-up of aprons. White ones are smaller, black ones are larger. Have them easily accessible!
Clay tools in an old jar. Nothing fancy, but students can easily get to them and see what's available. This class did not do a good cleaning job. :)
Shelves... I am constantly rearranging them but they are so helpful for drying purposes, holding green ware or glazed pieces that are ready for firing, etc.
Cookie sheets! I use them ALL the time. They can hold quite a few pieces, and they are pretty sturdy. Also, the clay won't stick to them as it dries.

I also use a lot of copy paper box lids. You can use them to store glaze, fired pieces, or just for transporting from the kiln room to the classroom. A cart also comes in handy for that!
Another box lid used to hold kiln props. I usually have them more neatly organized by size, but this week was crazy.
More kiln prop organization
Slip bowl covered with foil. I've been using the same slip bowls for 4 months... just add water when you need to!

That concludes my clay organization post, but I will be back with more clay entries, because there's a LOT more to talk about!

By the way, does anyone else have trouble lining up and spacing pictures on this thing? Wow, it's annoying.

Have a terrific Thursday.:)

Mrs. E

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