Teaching can be a little tough at any level, but especially when teaching about how to paint or sculpt or other ways of expressing yourself through art. Because you never really know who is going to walk into your class and what their experience may be. Maybe they have grown up creating different pieces or playing with different forms, or maybe they are just hoping to pass the time learning something fun and interesting. And some may not even be that interested, but just are tagging along with friends and loved ones. But, teaching can be wonderful for this reason as well. You can use it to your advantage!If you are teaching a ceramic art education class, for instance, you can think of different projects that will challenge people of all backgrounds. Perhaps you can have individual projects and group projects, so everyone has the chance to mingle with others. Then you can not only expose them to a new art, but to new people and ways of thinking. And that may create more exciting work. You can collect all of their work with a ware cart and let everyone have a look. Maybe critique it and point out all of the interesting aspects, and where they may be able to stretch themselves for something that is even more striking.And you can always teach them how to use Brent pottery wheels. These are very popular items both within and outside the community, as it is a very well known tool. Thanks to television and movies, it has become very well known. So your class can have a fun day where that is what the focus is on – creating some great pottery! They can just have fun with the designs and shapes, and afterwards when has been glazed and perfected, they can paint it and just have some fun with one another. It is a great way to get everyone involved together.So do not get discouraged. Use all of the tools you have to create something fun and interesting. Art is for everyone, so learning how to create it and interpret it can be as well. And so do not doubt your capabilities. It can be fun and challenging and rewarding!
Modern materials make interesting and instructive ceramic art education projects easy and fun. Polymer clay is a new material, invented during World War II, which lends itself to many ceramic applications. Not a mineral clay at all, polymer clay is a form of PVC (polyvinyl chloride) with plasticizing agents to make it soft and workable until it is baked at low temperatures, such as those of an ordinary kitchen oven. As a rule of thumb, polymer clay objects should be baked at between 265° – 275° F (129° – 135° C) for fifteen minutes per quarter-inch (6 mm) thickness. Polymer clays are naturally translucent but can be made more opaque by the addition of white china clay or kaolin. Metallic or pearlescent type effects can be obtained by adding mica. Thus the basic material lends itself to many ceramic art education techniques.At primary school levels hand shaped sculptures can be created easily and fired in an oven for permanence. Younger children also enjoy making buttons, beads, and other jewelry items such as earrings, pendants, and barrettes. Not only can basic ceramic working skills be taught with these simple projects, but the children derive much satisfaction creating gift items for family members and friends with their own skills and imaginations. In addition to the traditional polymer clay which remains pliant until baked at low temperature, there are also polymer air dry clays which don’t even require an oven to harden.Middle and upper school students enjoy more advanced projects such as tile-making, and covering existing objects made of other materials, such as cardboard, metal, and glass. Polymer clay is easy to work with simple tools found around the house, such as knives, needles, rubber stamps, scissors; and the use of extruders makes it possible to create many interesting shapes. Some project ideas for making useful and gift items include vases, candy bowls, votive candle holders, cold drink holders, switch plates, jewelry boxes, knick-knack shelves, napkin holders, salt and pepper wells and shakers, chess and other game pieces, toy animals, picture frames, album covers, and many more. Small flat pieces of baked polymer clay can be used to make mosaics, collages, and basic reliefs as well as incorporated into paintings, since they can be decorated with paint, colored pencils, ink, chalk, glitter or foil, either applied either on the surface or as inclusion. Acrylic painting on the surface of polymer clay bonds with it upon baking. Polymer clay can pick up and preserve photographs and other images from magazine and newspaper pages. Pasta machines can be used in working with polymer clay to create unique color gradients in thin polymer clay sheets, which can be used in conjunction with slump, drape or hump molds to create serving platters, trays, bowls, and boxes.