One of the challenges of studio work is organizing “messy” materials with large classes. Some teachers might be hesitant to work with paint or clay because of the possibility that the materials won’t be used properly, clean-up will be too difficult, kiln firings will interfere with the class schedule, the list is endless.
The bonus of working with these materials is waiting beyond fear.
Today, I was able to phone a parent whose child discovered an unknown talent that had been waiting for the potters wheel. As soon as he began centering his clay and forming his first bowl, I could see that something was different in the way he worked. Pure talent. I can’t wait to see what else he creates.
Tomorrow, I get to phone another parent because of what I’ve seen when her child works with the coil technique. Beautifully formed vessels that are structurally sound and so much larger than I can create. So unexpected, and so refreshing!
Right now, both of my grade 9 classes are working with clay, which means that I need to make sure that there is enough material ready for over 50 students. Organizing this much clay is keeping me on my toes, but it’s been so much easier to recycle used clay since I began using our pug mill.
Until this year, I’ve had to soak any clay that dried-out, and wedge it all by hand. Sometimes it was too much for me, and I ended up hurting myself which meant that I had to ask my students for help or accept defeat and postpone using clay for a while.
Everything has changed this year. I’d been saving old, dry clay for *years* and I’m so happy that I can breathe new life into some old dusty bricks.
An unexpected bonus is the ability to participate in an Empty Bowls fundraiser next month, which will benefit our Legion and our Food Bank. It makes a huge difference for students when they know that someone will need to eat soup out of the bowl they make!
I am so grateful for the funding that was provided for purchasing our pug mill, and I hope that our community benefits from the work we do in the studio. In a small way, I hope to pay it forward, and to share this story with my students while they create.