Our learning plan this year included taking pottery classes. Last summer we found a groupon for a 2 part pottery class and the boys absolutely loved the process and the artist / instructor.
Finding the right classes and mentors for an interest led course of study sometimes involves a little bit more than signing up for existing classes. In this case it wasn’t particularly hard, just approaching the studio owner and asking for a quote to take a 6 week class. We quickly worked out an agreement and things were set for the boys and I to learn to do pottery on our own.
Our class was designed so we could become independent in the studio. We learned how to work the clay to get all the air bubbles out. Next up was learning the wheel.
Each week we trimmed our pieces from the previous week. We spent much of our time the next to last week learning to add handles where desired.
The final week we glazed all our pieces. Then it was just a matter of waiting. As Monty Python fans the boys thought making chalices was very cool.
There are so many lessons in learning to do pottery. Obviously there are technical skills to learn – how to work the clay, how to use the wheel, how to shape things on the wheel. The soft skills of pottery are really valuable – having patience and dealing with setbacks and disappointment. Pottery teaches you that “stuff” happens – you can mess things up just when its going perfect, pieces are sometimes dropped and break, pieces can explode in the kiln, the glazing may not turn out the way you envisioned. It’s disappointing but you just have to start over again.
I particularly liked taking pottery outside a “school” setting. When I was in school, art was always very limited when it came to materials and time. In our studio classes we had more freedom to explore and create than I ever had in school. Also we weren’t worried about a grade. If something “failed” it was just a learning experience.
What interest led projects have been the most fun for your kids? How do you display your kids creative pieces?