Learning with Pottery

C's 2016 Winter PotteryOur 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.

C at WheelOur 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.

Green PotteryEach 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.

E Pottery Winter 2016The 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.

My Winter Pottery CreationsI 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?

2 thoughts on “Learning with Pottery

  1. When I first saw your photo at the top I didn’t realise they were YOUR pieces – how cool!
    You’re lucky that your boys overlap in their interests. My son is most uninterested in any kind of art and crafts. My daughter always has some sort of project on the go, painting or modelling. She’s been obsessed with nail art for the last few months (I must admit I never realised quite how much actual ‘art’ and – would you believe – maths! is involved in something I’d never much valued personally. I’m now educated!) and has recently got into cake decorating (I’m a big fan of that one ;-).

    I like what you say about the soft skills that can be learned from doing an activity like pottery. My son recently asked to start piano lessons, which he’s enjoying in a rollercoaster sort of way for similar reasons!

  2. How fun! My son has been begging to take pottery classes but the only studio near us is WAAAAY out of our price range. We’ve tried out other classes in the meantime and all enjoyed a glass fusion class.

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