Tag Archives: ceramics

Filling the Spirit in Limoges

(And why, one wonders, is worshiping spelled with one ‘p,’ but shipping is spelled with two?)

But anyway, the end of March was blessed with a ladies’ retreat of the AECM community of churches, in French. I was privileged and delighted to be a part of this, and encouraged that I was able to participate and follow a significant percentage without the printed notes this time. It is wonderful to sing and worship with so many different Christian women from all parts of France.

Friends, some of whom I carpooled with.

Friends, some of whom I carpooled with.

Our group from the Toulouse area.

Our group from the Toulouse area.

Making a joyful noise to the Lord!

Making a joyful noise to the Lord!

Creating prayer calendars

Creating prayer calendars

Sunday lunch, after worshiping at the church in Limoge.

Sunday lunch, after worshiping at the church in Limoge.

Before returning to Toulouse, our carpool chose to make a visit to the ceramics museum. I get to add yet another museum to my list! I really need to make a page to collect my museum visits. I enjoy going back and remembering them.

The Museum of Limoges Porcelain, March 2014

The Museum of Limoges Porcelain, March 2014

My friend Dita in a porcelain sculpture outside the museum.

My friend Dita in a porcelain sculpture outside the museum.

The museum, decorated with enameling.

The museum, decorated with enameling.

Limoges is also known for its stained glass manufacture.

Limoges is also known for its stained glass manufacture.

More detail of the museum.

More detail of the museum.

One of many giant platters decorating the exterior wall.

One of many giant platters decorating the exterior wall.

You can see a few of my favorite displays here. Continue reading


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Filed under faith, France

The Ceramics Capital of Catalonia

Or at least La Bisbal says they are.

Stoney and Theo both bought art pieces from a gallery of authentic La Bisbal pottery.

The three of us ventured south into the hills to see, accompanied again by clouds and light rain. I intended our first stop to be the Terra Cotta Museum, but it proved to be a victim of the economy. Anyone want to buy a ceramics museum? A block away, we found our first antique shop; we hadn’t realized La Bisbal is also chock-full of antique stores.

This shop attracts with suits of armor outside.

I found this little gem…it made me laugh!

saltshaker chicken with a hinged door on his butt to receive the salt

Hoping to get more info on where the ceramics shops and galleries were, we headed to the tourist information center, but alas…

also closed. At least it’s not for sale.

So we just went exploring. See La Bisbal here

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Filed under Art, Travel


So what does an art teacher do with the leftover clay? How to spend the time when students are absorbed in their clay building?

I confess I got the idea for the hand from a local artist who sells at a boutique downtown. Hers are better, of course, but this design is mine. It feels like me. It will hold necklaces or scarves.

I plan to hang this mommy owl and her four babies from a stake in a large garden pot.

What would you do?

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Filed under Art, Creativity

Wishing for a Do-Over

At the end of the year, my school third through sixth graders made pendants to give a mom or grandmom. I showed examples of pendants. We talked about the variety of shapes pendants come in, and designs that would be pleasing to moms. Then I took them in to their ball of clay and let them create a pendant.

Some of my younger students invested thought and creativity, and got some cool results. Most of my older students did, too. Some of my photos didn’t turn out so well, unfortunately.

amanda in third grade

third grader julia (the camera glare keeps the detail and the texture of the flower from showing, unfortunately)

a fourth grade girl’s, but I didn’t mark which one.

sixth grade erica’s

fifth grader dresden

fifth grade carter’s leaf

These were the good ones. The rest pretty much had words scratched into them. If it hadn’t been so late in the year, I could have sent them back for a do-over right then, but we had a deadline to make: Mother’s Day Tea. So if I do this lesson again, I won’t leave it so open-ended. These creative offerings don’t quite make up for the others. I would probably require a flower, show some techniques that could be used in creating a flower, and then let them form their pendant within those parameters. Sometimes kids NEED more structure to help them rise to the level of their capability, and this was apparently one of those occasions.

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Filed under Art, Fifth/Sixth Grade, Teaching, Third/Fourth Grade

Japanese Teacups and Teabowls

After viewing a Japanese tea ceremony, Kindergarten made tea bowls formed on their knees, and first and second grades made cups from pinch pots. These were glazed using earth tones.

a second grader


a first grader


a first grader's cup

and a kindergarten bowl.

Notice from this kinder's bowl that they spattered a little blue or white glaze inside their bowls.



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Filed under Art, First/Second Grade, Kindergarten, Teaching

Christmas Cookie Plate workshop

With my focus this school year being art around the world, time for a ceramics unit for Christmas cookie plates just wasn’t in the schedule. Yet, I have been dying for a couple of years to do this project that I’ve seen on a couple of other art teachers’ blogs. My school was gracious enough to allow me to offer an after-school workshop, though, and I even had a couple of teachers participate! I think the results were adorable, and so I include them here. We looked at a variety of designs and brainstormed some of our own before each student tackled their own unique plate.

Classroom teacher designs! (So fun to have my coworkers in the mix!)

a sixth grader

My son's, also a sixth grader.

This boy’s plate was for his mom. The design was really detailed, and I loved the prickly texture of his tree. He also included ski marks in the snow, resulting in the crash exhibited by the upturned purple foot in the snowbank. We had underglazes issued in little condiment cups as they requested certain colors, and I suspect he was finishing off several surrounding cups he took to be white, as his snow exhibits three different underglazes! It is really cool, though, I think. I’m calling it “snowy bank at sunset.”

a fifth grader

fourth grader

another fourth grader

a very meticulous third grader

second grade

my youngest workshopper, a first grader

Students all kneaded and rolled out their own slabs by hand, and their only patterns were paper plates and cookie cutters (which some students opted out of). My own plate:

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Filed under Art, Teaching

Coming up

I haven’t shown my finished mug, so here it is. Although, I have NO idea what to do with it. It reminds me of my best friend’s husband, but I doubt he would want this distorted version of himself. *g* However, distortion was one thing I was teaching in this lesson, so it’s actually a good thing! LOL!

Little Al

Monday I finish the Warhol-style Lincoln portraits with the 7th graders. I need to post my model here. I think they are doing GREAT! Tuesday the 5th-7th grades begin this Byzantine-style Madonna and Child icon. I am doing it on that heavy cardboard/chipboard that backs bound art paper notebooks, since so much of the painting of the period was tempera on wood. The goal is for them to show the flat, elongated style of the time, tilted heads and expressionless faces. And, of course, gold halos. If I have time, next Tuesday when they finish I will read Clown of God to them, too.

Byzantine-style Madonna and Child

Thursday I get my homeschoolers back. They will do the cardinals the Faith kinders have already done, and the tints and shades background for the silhouettes next week, thanks to That Artist Woman (http://thatartistwoman.blogspot.com/2008/12/how-to-make-nativity-silhouette-art.html). My model is in a Nov. 28 blogpost.  The Faith kinders are doing a stacked layer-cake collage in honor of their teacher’s birthday. First and Second grades begin the colorwheel clown the homeschoolers have already done (a Deep Space Sparkle lesson!).

Now I just wait to see how my best-laid plans will go awry. LOL!

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Filed under Art, Fifth/Sixth Grade, Seventh/Eighth Grade, Teaching

Am I Converted?

Well, I’m still not a fan of clay, but I LOVE the results. You have to wait a ridiculous long time to see how a thing turns out, which makes it hard to adjust. But goodness they are beautiful! Our owls are back; our mugs are not. But best of all, the teachers’ Christmas gift birds are back! Imagine my surprise/dismay to find that I didn’t finish glazing one of the birds. How DID that happen?! I am going to try to spray it with clear enamel and see if that helps. I am such a flake!

First, my owl. I am not sure what I want to do with it. I have photos of all the 3rd and 4th graders with their owls, though, and I am going to write a thank you note to the grocery store that donated all the register tape centers that made their eyes and include the pictures. I also belatedly thought that I should have put little hangers in the backs of the owls when they were still wet clay. Also, I really liked the students’ blue-eyed owls, to my surprise. I wish I had given mine blue eyes, or at least black pupils. (Note for future such projects.)

Next the bird ornaments. I am going to get semi-sheer ribbon to thread through the holes and knot for hanging. The love birds are for the 1-2 grade teacher and her para. The star bird is for our kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Starr. 🙂 The cardinal will go to our resident enthusiastic birder, the 3-4 grade teacher. I have plans for each bird. I do think the mottled glaze works much better for owls than little wrens, though. I wish I had made it the plain brown instead. Too late now! See what I mean about waiting too long to find out how a thing will work?

Check out the student pieces in our Artsonia gallery. Theirs are in the Ceramics Gallery (which won’t be up until probably Thanksgiving).

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Filed under Art, Teaching, Third/Fourth Grade

Notes on a Busy Teaching Week

This week the older kids glazed their bisqueware. I was worried about getting the glaze out of our brushes, and it did pretty well, but I sure wish we could have separate brushes for something like that. I hope to pick up the finished pieces Monday, and I am just as anxious to see how my little birds for the teachers turn out as I am to see the kids’ pieces. I could NEVER have gotten all the glazing prepped for both classes, with only the 10 minute transition, without my parent volunteer Deb. Not in a million years. I was also surprised at the timidity of the 3-4th graders in regards to their glaze choice. I thought lots of kids would want to see the fancier glaze with the special effects, but about half chose solid brown for their owls. Well, I’m just glad I decided last minute to offer a solid! I am also grateful I chose the colors I did for the face mugs, as I didn’t realize one of the students did a Bob the tomato (had red for lips) and one did a Homer Simpson (orange for owl eyes and beaks). When you have to pick colors carefully on a budget, these little mercies are worth celebrating!

Most of the Holy Family silhouttes turned out pretty well. Silhouettes have the risk of looking blobby with paint, and a couple did, but most of the kids had recognizable figures. Was I ever relieved! I need to add my model of the project here, but I left mine at school. Maybe Monday. I am still wrestling with how to adapt it to the third and fourth grade. I want a sort of mobile with similar effects. I’ll spend Sunday playing with it.

model for holy family silhouette

My favorite BY FAR were the kindergarten cardinals! ( My model is here). Unfortunately, that was definitely a 40 minute lesson in a 30 minute class. While the goal was to use curved and straight lines to create a cardinal in a guided drawing, kinders need a LOT of direction, and often individual feedback. It was so worth the time, though! In the end, all but two were able to follow directions well enough to craft a recognizable cardinal, and even got excited as they began to see it come together coloring it in with their oil pastels. The next day was so packed with school activities the kinders’ teacher was kind enough to carve another 15 minutes out of it so we could finish before the holidays. (so much of the schedule was already disrupted for them)  This final step was the magic of resist, coloring white snowflakes on white paper, then watercoloring blue over. I just loving being magic. 😉 I am so proud of them!

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Keeping Me Honest

I have been going through my posts and trying to give credit to projects I used that were designed by other art teachers. I want to give credit where credit is due! There are so many wonderful, inspirational teachers out there, and I don’t mean to steal their glory, just borrow their hard work to benefit my own students. *smile*

We got our bisqueware today, and almost all of it turned out beautifully without mishap. One owl lost a wing, and one a foot, but that was all! And one student will get to be the illustration to what happens if you DON’T follow Mrs. Smith’s mantra of scratch, slip and attach! The mouth on his mug fell off clean. Not bad for over 30 pieces! Glazing begins tomorrow. I think I am almost as excited as the kids! (I am especially excited about the teacher gifts I made. Shhh! Don’t tell my secret!)

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Filed under Art, Teaching