Inside The Class Room: Ceramics

We wanted to feature one of our elective classes here at Uniontown High School so we asked teacher Mrs. Gartley about her ceramics class. She replied, “Ceramics is taking a very basic element of the earth (clay) and forming it into beautiful and useful objects. It is the oldest art form. When asked how she felt about ceramics she replied, “When I am forming something out of clay, I think about how my ancient ancestors did the very same thing. I feel connected to history.”

Students in ceramics class will do lots of different things like throwing on the wheel and glazing the pieces they have made. The steps to throwing on the wheel seem very easy but it may take a few attempts to actually get it or you may get it the very first time you try. When you begin to start throwing on the wheel you always wedge your clay first. Then you keep the clay lubricated with water, use less water when shaping. Keeping your hands together, using them together as one for better control. Use your entire body to work the clay, focusing on the center. Always move your hands into/out of contact slowly while the wheel is going round.

The steps on how to glaze your beautiful pieces, whether you have made it by hands or on the wheel are the same. Start with an unglazed, hard ceramic object, wear disposable gloves while handling the ceramic object. Sand bumps or imperfections off the surface, then you will wipe it off with a damp sponge. After this you can put wax to the bottom of the object if you want, so the glaze will run right off the bottom it will save you from having to wipe it off with a damp sponge afterwards. Always stir the glaze before you use it, so that its not to clumpy or too thin. If you have a pair of potter’s tongs, the easiest way to accomplish this is to pick up the object with the tongs and dip it in a container holding the overglaze for one to three seconds. Afterwards, you will sit them down to finish drying, and Mrs. Gartley will put them in the Kiln to get fired.

Kimari Fletcher

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