Third graders at Methow Valley Elementary School dug their hands into clay with Twisp artist Jim Neupert as part of their Native American studies unit. The residency taught students to hand form clay, as well as to invent and place designs taking shape, balance, and proportion into consideration.
Jim introduced the students to traditional pot and bowl construction, then taught them to form coil clay bowls, which are created by rolling long “snakes” of clay and then gradually coiling and stacking the snakes on top of each other. The coils could be left visible or smoothed away while the clay was still wet. Coiled clay is an oft-used technique in primitive cultures, and remains one of the principle techniques that hand-building method potters use today.
Students then examined various designs from different primitive cultures and using these designs for inspiration, created their own designs, which they carved into the wet clay. The final step involved painting the clay with glaze before firing. All of the pieces are made of fine clay and are decorated with lead-free glazes. The bowls are microwave and dishwasher safe.
The bowls are displayed in the Methow Valley Elementary School commons area through mid-November.
This hands-on art residency was brought to students by Methow Arts’ Okanogan Region Arts Education Partnership. The partnership serves more than 5,200 students and 370 teachers across Okanogan County with arts programs in classrooms in the Omak, Okanogan, Brewster, Bridgeport, Pateros, and Methow School Districts, and in the Paschal Sherman Indian School. Project sponsors include the Public School Funding Alliance, the Methow Valley Fund of the Community Foundation of North Central Washington, the Methow Valley School District, the National Endowment for the Arts, and ArtsWA.
INFO: Methow Arts Alliance, 509.997.4004, firstname.lastname@example.org