The Art of Clay: Introduction to Ceramics Workshop

A few weeks ago, I served as a teaching assistant at The Art of Clay: Introduction to Ceramic Workshop, a four-day event taught by Salvador Jiménez-Flores at the Harvard Ed Portal:

"... students learned the basics of working with clay, from two-dimensional mark-making to coil-building techniques. Salvador Jiménez-Flores, Harvard Ceramics Program Artist-in-Residence, took the class through a variety of projects in four days and each piece showed off the creativity of the students.

All of the middle-schoolers who took part created and painted multiple tiles and cups with their own designs, and they will be able to take home fired and glazed pieces to show off their work!"

This workshop was SO FUN!  I had never worked with kids in a teaching environment before, and Salvador was such an excellent instructor, so it was very inspiring to be both around him, the students, and the fun, uninhibited, vibrant work they made. I also gave my very first teaching demo at this workshop -- how to build and attach handles to cups!  Seeing the kids work encouraged me to do some more hand-building and carefree playing of my own.  When I go to the ceramics studio to create my own personal work, I am sometimes so sternly focused on improving my wheel-throwing skills.  I often neglect less serious, more fun clay projects that don't involve the pottery wheel -- and the fact that my initial love for clay started at an early age with hand-building.

After the workshop, we spent a few days glazing and firing the work (the kids did all the color work -- we simply put a clear glaze on top).  It was great to see everything come out of the kiln (in one piece! nothing blew up!).  The finished tiles, cups, pinch pots and small sculptures got lots of oohs and ahhs from the seasoned potters and artists at the Harvard Ceramics Program.