June 19, 2010

not so UGLY JUGS!

This was my all time favorite project of the school year. Mainly because it surprised me how engaged the students were and how awesome the final project looked.

Ugly Jugs or Face Jugs are an African American tradition that dates back to the days of slavery. There is not  a lot of writing about the history of these jugs as most slaves could not read or write but there are many speculations on why these jugs were made. Ugly Jugs were found among grave sites and are said to scare away evil spirits. Another reason they might have been made ugly is to scare away children from drinking what was inside (moonshine). I, of course, don't tell my 5th graders this theory but I thought it was an interesting one to share!

We start by making two pinch pots. Then we build the face. Finally we connected them, using slip and score, and made a spout.

These are the fourth graders Ugly Jugs.

By the way I got the idea from my husband. I asked him "what art project was your absolutely favorite when you were in school." Without hesitation he said "My UGLY JUG!" 

Ask a person who is not an art teacher what their favorite art project was and do tell! I love art projects that have impact.

P.S. If you happen to have the PBS video about face jugs please let me know how you got it! I have been trying to get one but PBS told me they are out of print.


Paige said...

I love this idea! It's a great way to incorporate art history into the projects! I just started following your blog and I love your ideas! I'm a senior Art Education major at Harding University in Arkansas and I'm constantly scouring blogs looking for ideas. I'm glad I stumbled upon yours tonight!

Unknown said...

Thanks Paige! I'm so happy you like the ideas. The best part is they all are tried and true in an urban classroom. I scour blogs too! I will check your blog list to see what other good ones are out there! Congrats getting your degree and we need dedicated teachers.

Kim said...

I actually do ugly "cups" with my first graders. It's been a favorite project for years and is a great way to teach attaching with clay. I loved seeing your student's work. I progress with my students too. Our big 5th grade project is based on Peruvian Ocarinas. Ours are really just clay whistles because few students master adding the fingering holes to create a true ocarina. They are still thrilled creating a whistle they can blow and create a sound.

Anonymous said...

The PBS video can be found online for free! Just search for PBS History detectives, ugly jugs!

Unknown said...

Thanks!!! I can't wait to search for this video:) COOL