The monster theme of this week-long summer camp opened up countless imaginative possibilities. I also found ways to incorporate biology, history, and literature into the art projects, something that I consider very important to teaching art to youth. Art, in and of itself is a wonderful subject, but it also lends itself as a great teaching tool for other subjects and core material.
Projects include a creature feature mug that incorporated a specific physical trait, a cave habitat (monsters included), and a bowl that somehow reflected a historical mythical monster like Cyclops.
At the end of the week, students spent time outdoors collecting found object stamps and mark-makers. They then constructed a giant slab from clay scrap and used these objects and their own footprints to make Monster Prints. This group project encouraged a lot of interaction and exploration after a long week of solo projects.
Summer Camp 2014 - Ancient Days of the Pharaohs
A week-long camp devoted to Egypt presented an opportunity to integrate art with math and geometry, when considering the epic engineering feats accomplished by this ancient society. The featured group project was a replica of the Great Pyramid of Giza, an impressive 30" x 30" x 30" structure.
Along the way, students solved problems, like how to support the structure from the inside or maintain the triangular profile. I also assigned roles, such as brick-maker, mason, and foreman, something that was effective for collaboration within the broad age range of 6-11 years old.
Other aspects of Ancient Egyptian society, such as hieroglyphs, jewelry, and religious artifacts provided plenty of inspiration for individual projects throughout the week.
Summer Camp 2014 - Celebrating World Cultures
This week-long camp explored social sciences, geography, and history through clay. Each day, I took students to a different continent and time period. One day, we looked at ancient Greece and Rome before creating amphora wall hangings. Another day, we considered Islamic art prior to working with pattern and creating tile boxes.
The group project studied historic adobe villages of North America. Students were allowed to explore the pueblo lifestyle by re-creating the features in clay. They worked together to combine all of the elements of a village and created a truly fantastic project.
Adult Class - Design/Build
This weekly adult class, which spanned 12 weeks, offered an intimate setting for me to share some of my own means and methods for constructing slab-built vessels.
A primer course invested 4 weeks in the designing and building a bisque mold. I placed emphasis on taking the time to sketch before sculpting the mold and then testing the mold before finalizing the form.
When putting the mold to use, I encouraged students to accentuate construction joints and use these lines to guide the shape of the vessel. Check out the Design/Build section of my gallery to view finished demo pieces.
Private Lessons & Workshops
It's a thrill to dive into a one-day class with new or experienced students. Sometimes the limited time frame squeezes out extra creativity or productivity that would otherwise take weeks of coaxing to fruition.
I am always looking for ways to fit short lessons and workshops into my schedule.
I consider teaching to be invaluable to continual personal development as an artist. It is also an opportunity to stay involved in the clay community. It is often easy for an artist to become cut-off from the world around them as they focus on work in the studio. Sharing that focus and creativity in the classroom allows me to take a step back and look at my own work or ideas from different perspective. Often, students have the most constructive observations and I am always inspired by the variation of creativity that I see in their work. My experiences range from the privilege of introducing a first-time student to clay to collaborating with advanced students in a workshop-type of environment.