Art Update: March 4


Woohoo! Much anticipated, always a hit, always fast and furious, always messy and loads of fun!

We take a break from our regular programing to bring to you….. POTTERY!  When it’s time for pottery, we are dependent on Continental Clay and their schedule for our kiln firingS etc.  Wait to close to the end of the year and there’s competition from the larger schools to get kiln time, do it too soon, and you’re sure to run into blizzard weather making the trek difficult.  Too close to Christmas…back to competing for kiln time (they fire order son a first come first served basis).

This is a GREAT time to make comparisons (I usually do) between our Heavenly Father, the Potter, and his clay (us).  LOTS of parallels for you to discuss and I will be mentioning many in class (examples: putting pressure on the clay to shape it into what it’s supposed to be, but always supporting it.  Going through the fiery furnace as part of the process.  Even the glazes, look bland and ugly going on and, by faith, we trust that once that dull, glazed piece goes through the fiery kiln, it will come out bright, vibrant and beautiful.

NEW THIS YEAR: I often have left over 1 lb bags of clay.  If you, the parent, would like to take one (or more depending) home for free and supervise an extra build project (not too thick, no air bubbles etc…I can give details). Continental clay will usually fire pieces for $7 a load/piece (unless they are unusually large).   I’m happy to take payment and piece with me to drop and pick up, if that interests you, but the onus would be on you. You can always drop off directly to Continental clay yourselves…they’re in Minneapolis.  ANYWAY…if that interests you, shoot me an e-mail (…subject: Pottery bag please,and I will work my way down the list until the extra’s are gone (usually I have about 5-8 bags left).  I wouldn’t be supplying glaze for you to use, but once the first firing is done, acrylic paint and modge podge can be used at home, or the pieces can be left plain.   Bonus: If you are hoping for a bag and want to come watch a build day, you are most welcome to join us, but wear an apron or your work clothes. ;-).

ABSENTEE STUDENT ALERT 🙂 :  I’ve had a few students tell me they will be gone on vacations, or some get sick etc.  Here’s how I handle that.  Grades 3-6th usually get 2 build days, so if they are gone or know they are going to be gone, they can still create a simplified version of what we’ve been working on so they’ll have something to glaze.  Grades 1-2 get one build day.  If a student is gone and doesn’t have the opportunity to build I will either make extra demos for them to make their own on glaze day (if there’s time) or I purchase small terra cotta saucers or pots for them to glaze on glaze day.  On RARE occasions (if my schedule allows and if parents are willing to drive their student to my home (and bring me a Caribou coffee and or a Lily Salted Caramel Chocolate bar 😉 ), I’ve allowed a passionate student to come over to do a build.., but life has been busy and I make no promises. ;-).

I don’t have a lot of control over glaze day.  When the pieces are ready to be picked up, we glaze.  If a student is gone on glaze day, either another student, the art helper, or I will glaze the piece for the student who is gone…there really isn’t another way around that one.

 UPDATE: Here’s a peak at what we’ve been working on and will return to.

Weaving, weaving, weaving…Yay! Weaving is a textile art and can produce some pretty amazing and display worthy pieces.  Of course, weaving is practical too, for without it, we would not have amazing rugs, fabric etc.   For younger students, the art of going over, under, over, under…can get monotonous…and let’s face it, boring.  I chose the following weaving projects because they give a high level of success, incorporate other elements of art, and usually turn out quite beautifully.

But first…. ART TERMS (we went over all these in class).

Loom- The frame, usually wood (but not always) that you use to do your weaving on.

Warp- The string that goes up an down (or in our case…we worked in the round) and plays a supporting role to the weaving we will be doing.  The first step to weaving is to “Warp” you loom.

Weft- The pretty part…the weft is the, often colorful, yarn  (or in the case of rugs, rags) that gets woven through the warp (over, under, over under….

Shuttle- We discussed large looms and how they have a pedal to switch the warp strings up and down. The weft yarn is wrapped around a shuttle cock which you throw/glide??? across back and forth to make weaving easier (you can google it to see it in action or take a field trip to the textile museum).  We don’t have a shuttle for our simple form of weaving.

1st & 2nd Graders:

We began with cardboard paper plates that were pre-notched  for easy warping later.  We painted in a sky, creating a horizon line and three different values of hills (three hills, one light green tint, one regular green, one “tone” green), to create the illusion of distance.  We added details like clouds, sheep, barns etc… So basically, we decorated our loom, so that the loom will be part of the finished product.

The following week, we warped our looms to create what will be a woven tree (so not a full on weaving project to fill the loom, but enough that it will work out even if they oops…a lot). Many finished their trunks and when we get back to these projects, we will add the leaf area.

3rd-6th Graders
Were given round, pre-notched, cardboard, looms, that had the edges pre-painted black to hide the cardboard color that will be left exposed.  Students were shown a simplified version of weaving in the round, focusing only on color and texture of weft being used.  Students were also shown a more advanced level, using finer yarn to create a sunset type of a back round that will be used for a felt silhouette lay over later.

Because the ability levels between the 3rd-6th vary SO greatly (I have many 3/4th graders that are pretty confident and as advanced as some 5/6th graders, and some 5/6th graders that are just gaining confidence in their abilities), rather than assign one project to one class and  one to the other, I’ve been opening up both projects (when I’m able) to both classes for them to choose based on their comfort level.  So day 1, learning, demo and warping our looms, Day 2 we began adding the weft (students that were gone day 1 were given a prewarped loom to work on for day 2).  We will finish these off between pottery lessons.

Warm Regards,

Jen Logan

Posted in Elementary News