Monday, June 20, 2016

Coil Pots

Recently, artists in 3rd and 4th grade made coil pots using clay. First, we learned that clay comes from the Earth and is made up of different minerals. For thousands of years, people have been using clay to make pottery, making the clay into cups, bowls and vases to use. We also learned that clay goes through many stages to become a finished, glazed coil pot and the first stage is wet clay. 
To begin, students used rolling pins to flatten the clay and used a yogurt cup to trace around and make the bottom of the coil pot. Then we took smaller pieces of clay and rolled them under our palms, forming coils or snake-like shapes. Students worked hard to create even coils that would reach all the way around their pot’s base. We learned how to score, or scratch up, the clay and apply slip, which is a mixture of clay and water and acts as a glue, to attach our coils together. It is important to “scratch and attach” everything, because while it is wet, clay sticks together easily, but eventually it dries and can come apart. 
3rd graders built coil pots using 6 layers of coils. 4th grade classes got another day to add decorative details to their coil pot, including spirals, handles, shapes and letters. The coil pots dried out for a week until they became bone dry and were fired in the kiln. The kiln is an oven for the clay to get heated and become hard. 
The following class, students painted glaze onto their coil pots. Six color stations were set up around the room and students used the colors they wanted to use at that station. Students had to carry their coil pots to the different stations very carefully. 
We painted 2-3 layers of glaze, so that the colors would come out bright. Students had to make sure to cover all the white spots, which was more challenging because of the texture of the fired clay. Some students chose to paint the glaze as solid colors and other students created patterns such as stripes or polka dots. 
We got our coil pots back after they had been fired again, to melt the glaze onto our pot and make it shiny. Students noticed that the colors had gotten brighter. Below are some examples of our finished coil pots from 3rd and 4th grades:
Chloe, 4th grade (Dubuque)
Elena, 4th grade (Mattson Graves)

Emma, 3rd grade (Fletcher)
Mateo, 4th grade (Doherty)
Shahd, 4th grade (Doherty)
Sidney, 4th grade (Doherty)
Nikolas, 4th grade (Dubuque)
Tamsin, 4th grade (Cikacz)
Cameron, 4th grade (Dubuque)

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