Sharing Art
Western Reserve Public Media
 
Slab Pottery Project

Overview

Regional Artists: George Sacco, Kent
Featured Museum: Canton Museum of Art
Featured Artist: Don Reitz
Featured Work of Art: "Platter"
Featured Teacher: Jennifer Guest, Fairless Local School

Lesson Overview:
Students will design, glaze and fire a functional piece of textured pottery

 

Video Synopsis

George Sacco creates giant decorative bowls using a slab pottery technique. Slabs of clay are placed on a form with breakfast cereal and the unfinished seams between slabs create textures. Each piece is individually fired in a low-temperature outdoor brick enclosure creating different color patterns. The school project shows students creating slab bowls and adding glazes.

 

Objectives

Students will:

  • Gain the knowledge to produce a functional piece of pottery.

  • Explore the ideas of texture and design.

  • Glaze and learn how glazes and firing work.

 

Vocabulary

  • Clay

  • Slip

  • Slab

  • Hump mold

  • Fire

  • Cone

  • Glaze

 

Materials

  • 50 pounds of cone 05 clay (warm brown stoneware)

  • Bowls, hump molds

  • Canvas squares

  • Rolling pins

  • Butterknives and clay tools

  • Assorted opalescent glazes

  • Assorted breakfast cereals

 

 

Procedure

  • Show the Sharing Art video, “Slab Pottery.”

  • Students will be instructed on how to roll a slab: wedge clay; lay canvas on desk and put ball of clay in the center; use a rolling pin to roll clay flat to 1/4- to 1/2-inch thick (like sugar cookies).

  • Students should sprinkle the clay with cereal to create texture, pressing the cereal into the clay.

  • Cut slab into several rectangles.

  • Mold over bowl or hump mold.

  • After clay is leather hard, remove the bowl and flip over.

  • Students should explore the idea of carving patterns and lines into bowl with clay tools.

  • Allow to dry and fire.

  • Finish with glazes.

 

Lower Grade Level Project

Objectives

Students will:

  • Gain the knowledge to produce a functional piece of pottery as a group.

  • Explore the ideas of texture and design.

  • Learn how to glaze.

  • Learn about glazing and firing.

 

Procedures

  • Students will be instructed on how to roll a slab: wedge clay; lay canvas on desk and put ball of clay in the center; use a rolling pin to roll clay flat to 1/4- to 1/2-inch thick (like sugar cookies).

  • Each student should get a small piece of clay to create a patch or square.

  • The students should use various methods to create texture in their piece of clay.

  • All pieces of clay should be patch-worked together to make one classroom bowl.

  • Students should work together to smooth the different pieces together.

  • The bowl can be donated to a parent, teacher or administrator after it has been glazed and fired.

 

Lower Grade Additional Materials needed

  • Largest hump mold or bowl you cn find

  • Cookie cutters

 

 

Higher Grade Level Project

Objectives

Students will:

  • Gain the knowledge to produce a functional piece of pottery.

  •  Explore the ideas of texture and design.

  • Glaze and learn how glazes and firing work.

  • Experiment with different colors of underglazes and glazes.

 

Procedures

  • Students will be instructed on how to roll a slab: wedge clay; lay canvas on desk and put ball of clay in the center; use a rolling pin to roll clay flat to 1/4- to 1/2-inch thick (like sugar cookies).

  • Students should sprinkle the clay with cereal to create texture. Press cereal into clay.

  • Cut slab into several rectangles.

  • Mold over bowl or hump mold.

  • After clay is leather hard, remove the bowl and flip over

  • Students should explore the idea of carving patterns and lines into bowl with clay tools.

  • Allow to dry.

  •  Students should paint designs and patterns on clay with underglazes and fire.

  • Finish with glazes and fire.

 

Assessment

Develop a rubric (can involve students) and share the rubric with students before they begin their project. The rubric should include:

  • Functionality of pottery

  • Use of texture

  • Use of design

  • Use of glazes

 

Lower Grade Assessment

Develop a rubric (can involve students) and share the rubric with students before they begin their project. The rubric should include:

  • Use of texture, individually and as a group

  • Use of design, individually and as a group

  • Use of glazes, individually and as a group

 

Higher Grade Assessment

Develop a rubric (can involve students) and share the rubric with students before they begin their project. The rubric should include:

  • Functionality of pottery

  • Use of texture

  • Use of design

  • Use of glazes

  • Use of design and patterns in clay

  • Use of design and patterns in glaze.

 
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