The fourth-grade art students are in the middle of an 8-week project in ceramics. With 19th-century pottery artist Maria Martinez as their inspiration, the students are fashioning ceramic birdbaths out of clay and glass. The truths of Isaiah 64:8 are instilled in the students as they learn how to work with clay and shape it into recognizable forms.
First, students formed the bowl of their birdbath by throwing clay on a spinning clay wheel with the assistance of visiting art teacher Katie Babb. These bowls were left to dry so they could be placed on the base without losing their shape or crumbling.
In the following class, the students each hand-built a small clay bird to sit atop their design. The variety in the design of each bird truly shows the immense amount of creativity within each class. The students then spent time producing coils: long, finger-width rolls of clay. These coils were stacked in a circular pattern and pressed together to form the base of their design.
After spraying a water/vinegar solution on the bottom of the bowl to break up the clay a bit, the students placed the bowl on the base and the two clays dried creating one unified piece. Once the birdbaths are fired for the first time the students will glaze them for a second firing before adding beautiful blue glass that will melt to give the illusion of water.
Through this project, students studied form, proportion, and balance and then applied these principles to their clay. Mrs. Dyer, the lower school art teacher, reflected on how impressive it is for each student to accomplish so much work in just eight short class periods.
But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand. (Isaiah 64:8)
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