FYI: MORE PHOTOS COMING IN A WEEK
Coil pots are a staple in Elementary Art. Before my students build their own, we spend a class having a clay experience day and use my Coil Technique Sheet to help students learn a variety of options. I expect students to know the appropriate amount of water they can add, how to heal surface cracks (“Dip your fingers in the water and pet the clay. Nice clay.”), consistency in coil width, scratch and attach (‘slip and score’ leads to too many nefarious middle school jokes), clay structural integrity, and the stages of clay (Slip, Wet, Leather Hard, Bone Dry, Bisque, Glazed). I prefer to have a slab base versus the coil, but I let students create any shape they’d like. All of the projects come out different some have handles, lids, additional attachments, and color variations.
I am a ceramics enthusiast and cringe at the thought of only spending one class session on clay building. I allot one class period for practice and review, two periods to build individual pots, and one period to glaze. I truly believe that students need to have a skill base with a material before you can expect them to take risks and build creativity with a critical thought process. I also feel students get more out of clay over any other art medium. Mistakes are erased with finger strokes or pounded with delight. Failure is part of the process when they work with balance and structural integrity, leading students into hands-on problem solving through exploration.
I had a great success having the students learn how to build and attach the coils by collaboratively building a large pot for their classroom teacher. Those teachers also really appreciated a classroom made gift that was large enough to hold desk supplies or a small plant.