In years past, kids in art class learned how to create pottery by shaping and firing an ashtray. Of course, in years past many more people were smokers and it wasn’t frowned upon to have children create a symbol that could be construed as sending a pro-smoking message. Children are still going to art classes. But if they’re not making ashtrays, then what are they making? Well, just about anything! While an ashtray is actually a good starter project, the truth is there are many other first projects that are just as good, even elaborate pieces that incorporate bisque ceramic tiles. Parents that remember making an ashtray in their art classes might be surprised with what their children bring home.
Some classes will get the kids on the potter’s wheel and have them throwing some clay. They can create a vase, a simple bowl, or some other creation. After they create their masterpiece, the work has just begun. Decorating the piece is just as important. Before they put it in a ceramic kiln, it’s time to apply some decorative glaze. These finishing glazes can come in just about any color you can imagine, so the kids’ imagination is the only limit. They can make a bold statement with a solid color, or they can create elaborate patterns with multiple colors. They can even mimic the sorts of patterns that you see in historical pottery, like ancient Egyptian pottery or Native American pottery. When you tap into kids’ creativity, the possibilities are almost limitless.
When it’s time to finish the piece off, the teacher can help the children understand the process, and let them participate in putting the pottery in a ceramic pottery kiln. Since this equipment can create some intense heat, it is important for the teacher to show everyone the proper way to work with the kiln to ensure safety. It’s important to know that while you need to adhere to certain safety precautions, you can certainly use a kiln without causing a fire or burning yourself. Once the heating of the pottery is done, all that’s left is to bring it home and show it to mom and dad. Many times parents are amazed at the quality of the piece their child created. If it’s not a bowl or vase, they might have created a ceramic butterfly or other animal. Just like children have limitless imaginations, so too does pottery hold limitless possibilities!