SchoolArts Magazine

September 2018

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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38 SEPTEMBER 2018 SchoolArts T his lesson was originally a student-inspired project. After teaching students how to form a pinch pot, one student asked me if he could transform his into a frog. I showed the student how to score and slip the clay in order to attach features. Soon, all of my stu - dents wanted to make one as well. I have tried in vain to nix this project through the years, but it has become a self-imposed rite of passage as students enter the world of middle-school art. So, I simply change it up by adding a new com - ponent or theme every year. We also d iscuss things such as how crea- tures are used in the art of ancient E gypt. We explore how the choices we make in art reflect our own material culture. T hese creatures are still occasion - ally referred to as "frogs," but they a re way too silly for that classifica- tion now! To see a demo of this les- son, follow me on YouTube under my n ame, Melody Weintraub. Forming the Pinch Pot First, I distribute the clay to students so that while I am demonstrating the process, they may follow along. I begin by forming the cube of clay into a sphere by gently patting down the edges and corners. With clay in the palm of one hand, I show students how to stick the thumb of their other hand into center of the sphere. I stress to them the impor - tance of gently pinching the walls of c lay using thumb and fingers while rotating the sphere until walls are no thinner than a pencil. When the pinch pot is formed, students lay the pot on its side, flattening one side of it so that it will sit up. Adding Features Using a new piece of clay, I show how to make a 1 x 3" (3 x 8 cm) coil. Next, students divide the coil in half and roll each piece to make eyeballs about the size of a large marble. Using a toothbrush or plastic fork, they score and slip the eyeballs and attach them. With the remaining clay, students may add additional features by scoring and slipping. W hen adding garlic-pressed spa - ghetti strands for hair, I remind s tudents to add slip and score the creature, not the strands. These addi- tions break off easily, so it's usually n ot advisable to make them more Pinch Pot Melody Weintraub We explore how the choices we make in art reflect our own material culture. CREATURES than 1" from the surface. When the pieces are complete, have students write their names legibly on the bot- tom with a pencil. Allow five days t o dry uncovered before firing. After the first firing, students can glaze their creatures, but the bottoms should be left unglazed so they don't stick to the kiln shelf. Check the bottoms before loading into the kiln. Bio Cards While the creatures are drying or being fired, I ask students to cre- ate Bio Cards for their imaginative c reatures. Components include the creature's name, habitat, hobbies, diet, and favorite movie or TV show. These cards are displayed with the finished artworks. Melody Weintraub is a freelance artist and middle school art teacher at Briar - crest Christian School in Eads, Tennes- see. She was awarded Tennessee Middle S chool Art Educator of the Year in 2013. melodyweintraub @ N A T I O N A L S T A N D A R D Creating: Conceiving and developing new artistic ideas and work. W E B L I N K M I D D L E S C H O O L

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