Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Post Away People

Summer is almost here, I hope we see some action on this site once everyone is all wrapped up for the year!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Thayer Meeting Notes

Hello Fellow Potters! I agreed to produce notes from our meeting last week, and I apologize for being slow to get them out, but I guess you all know how hectic this time of year can be. I also apologize for not using "BCC" for this group e-mail, but this seemed the best way for me to give all of you all of the e-mail addresses. I have to say, that I have done quite a lot of detective work to come up with these e-mails, and will not know until after this is sent on which ones I have goofed. The one person that I failed to come up with anything for is Sara Fine-Wilson at Lincoln Sudbury High.
Two people from Vermont, Naomi Lindenfeld (The Putney School) and Liz DeNiord Brattleboro High School), are added above because I know that they were interested in participating, but could not be there.
  • Thanks go to Steve Branfman for organizing and hosting his event, which brought 16 potters together in the very impressive pottery studio at Thayer Academy. I am sure that we all took back ideas on organization and upkeep on that beautifully equipped space! We spent about an hour informally getting to know each other as we ate pizza and sweets, and then convened into a circle to tell a bit about ourselves and share an idea from our teaching.


  • Steve: He brings in a "Pot of the Week" and sets it on a pedestal in the studio, spending not more than 5 minutes to tell everything that he can think of that is relevant to the piece, introducing pottery styles and vocabulary. Good way to introduce history and techniques.
  • Ursula: Salt and pepper shakers, made by scoring and slipping 2 pinch pots together to create a hollow shape. She gets rubber stoppers and uses a hole maker that is sized to fit the stopper.
  • Sara: Icebreaker for first day of class- Use old B&W photo changing bags and put random shapes in them (shell, key, walnut, etc.). Make up a bag for a group of 6 students at each table. The students reach in and feel the objects, and then create them in clay, using no tools. The clay is recycled at the end of the exercise.
  • Lisa: Use a 1" piece of clay to create something. Make anything, but use all of the clay.
  • Paul: Listen to a meditation tape to slow down for about 20 minutes. Then blindfold the students and have them make a cup for a blind person, in silence, with no talking.
  • Aggie: After 4 weeks of throwing, divide the class into groups for a throwing competition. Each person has 5 minutes to make cylinders (give a minimum height), and the thrower is the only one who can touch the wheel. Others can give tips, add water, set pots aside. Who can make the most? the tallest? the best?
  • Aggie: Carve a 2x2" piece of leather hard clay so that no positive or negative space is thicker than your thumb
  • LIsa: Plaster carved forms can then be used as a mold for clay projects
  • Whitey: Have the kids work upside down and go for height
  • Liz: Earth Day Project- Huge outdoor nest with extruded coils to make eggs
  • Steve- Have kids throw blindfolded to get the tactile aspect of how it feels (or handbuild blindfolded)

Brett offered to start an online group (at blogspot.com?) so stay tuned!

Respectfully submitted, Mary Hepburn (with thanks to Aggie for additional notes)

Posting on the blog

Dear Colleagues,

Please create an account at blogspot and then tell me your account name via email to bfreebody@chch.org so I can then add you to the admin list so you can post anything and make any changes you would like to make. This is an open forum for all of us, post lessons, ideas, pictures of student work and anything that is of value.