That’s right. It is not a medium I would choose for myself. It’s dirty and dries my hands out like a West Texas wind in August. And it doesn’t do what I want it to do easily. But I am choosing to not let any students see even a hint of my dislike. And yes, I am using it this year. Why?
I have seen in my own children a love for making mud into something tangible. And they find something soothing in working all that mud. Children who don’t like drawing, painting, or cutting and gluing seem to like the tactile experience of clay. I have several students who don’t care for art, although they love having art class. It is more social, and it is a break from everyday academics. But I am determined to find some aspect of art in which they enjoy expressing themselves! Maybe for some of them, clay will be it.
So I will continue to don my flour-sack style apron for clay work, and show kids how to wet their fingertips to smooth cracks in the clay, and how to score parts to attach. And the older kids will even witness the magic of firing turning that dull, milky glaze into something shining and brilliant. It is only for a time, and then I can break out the paints again!
In the meantime, the younger kids and I have made air-dry owls and guppies. We paint them Thursday! It will be fun to give that plain clay some personality!