November 30, 2011

Sunset Pottery

I love chalk pastels!  I feel like I'm sculpting a picture when I draw with them. What if. . . we used pastels on pottery? I couldn't wait to try it. The effect was sunset like and made me think of the book The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush

First we made two pinch pots. My third graders are very familiar with pinch pots from Kindergarten first and second grade. You must be very good at making pinch pots for this to work. If the rims are too thin it gets tricky.

I demonstrated how to make a pinch pot with no words, showing each step carefully. Even the chattiest classes watched in silence. Then I had them  "repeat after me" the steps. "Make a sphere, make a sphere, put your thumb in it. . . " etc. I even had them repeat clay rules, "Never wash your hands in the sink." It's funny how elementary kids will repeat WHATEVER you say if you say the magic words. . . "repeat after me." So you know I had to have fun with this. "Repeat after me. . . there is a big sea monster in the drain of the sink, it's name is Mrs. Stinz (me). I repeat, DO NOT WASH YOUR HANDS IN THE SINK." If you don't already know sinks can get clogged very easily with 600 kids washing clay down them.

In the bottom of ONE of the pinch pots, poke a hole with your pencil. This will create an opening that you can form into a spout. You can add a coil around the top if you want a bigger spout or smooth it and leave it as is. Attach the rims of the pinch pots using slip and score method. Slip is basically mud that acts like glue (you can make this yourself out of clay and water.) Scoring means adding lines to make the surface rough, I like to think of this like velcro. When you attach the two pinch pots together you will have a vessel that looks like THIS. 

Next class, we created our sunset effect by rubbing a paper towel on the pastels and then smudging the color into the fired bisque. Then we read the book The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush, in that order. I find it's easier to do a calming activity like reading at the end of class because then late finishers can keep working while listening and the whole class feels a lot less rushed. Not to mention, this change in sequence has cut back on meltdowns and clean up chaos by creating a quiet time at the end of class.

thanks for still reading even though I've been a terribly absent blogger!


Mary said...

I love the effect of the pastels on the pottery!These pieces are beautiful! Funny you mentioned you feel like sculpting when you work with pastels.I feel the same way (and with charcoal as well- a favorite medium.)
Great post Erica! Wish I had a kiln.

Mrs. Art Teacher said...

they look shiny...did you clear glaze them after the pastels?

Phyl said...

They look so pretty, Erica! Is one pinch pot just stacked on the other? Do you cut an opening from one into the next? All I have is air-dry clay, so I've got to keep the clay lessons REAL simple. Air dry is very breakable.

Unknown said...

These are so creative (you clever girl!) I never would have thought about rubbing colored chalk onto bisqueware. Between you and Mary, I don't get the sculpture reference you mentioned, but then I've never claimed to be the sharpest crayon in the box!

Hope Hunter Knight said...

I was also curious as to how you glazed them. I am shocked that the pastel didn't burn away! They are beautiful.

Unknown said...

Thanks Mary! I'm glad I'm not crazy about that sculpting with pastel thing!

I used this clear varnish brushed over them.

Phyl, I TOTALLY forgot to explain a whole part of the process. . . I'll be reposting it with the corrections in BLUE! Not sure if this would work with air dry?

Pat thanks! Creative and just weird is a very fine line! I'm sure I cross it sometimes.