Thursday, 17 September 2009

A little while ago

I did a pottery workshop in a nursery school. It was different to workshops that I had done before, in that there was a larger emphasis on the experience than on the end product. The first children of the day were for me the most challenging... the two year olds. All my previous workshop experiences had been with older children, and so this group were tricky for me. Working with clay is a very tactile and sensory experience, and this was the main focus of this age group. I was pleasantly surprised at how much they got out of it, they dipped their fingers in water and felt how the clay softened when they added water to the surface, how it became slippery and easier to change. They hit it with plastic spoons and in some cases poked holes through it. Although nothing recognisable was produced, each shild learned that he or she had the power to change the form of the material.
Next up were the three year olds, who on the whole decided to make "cakes." Or should I say one child decided, and the rest followed suit.
Here are some of them....

Each child selected from a range of objects in the centre of the table, stones, spoons forks etc, and made individual decisions about how to decorate their cake. I like how they picked the forks and spoons as candles.

Every child was encouraged to make what they wanted to make, and the nursery owner specified that I should not come armed with any kind of project. The items were not to be fired, and this meant that all kinds of other objects could be included in the pieces they made. Here are a few images of what some of the older children made. The children were aged up to eight years, as the after school club were included too.

I loved this crocodile :) I asked her what she thought might make the texture of crocodile skin and she selected something from a range to create the texture. Good choice!

And this fab catarpillar! Again, here the child himself selected a number of identical milk bottle tops to create the rhythmic form, and this was his idea.

These hedgehogs were amazing too. Again, a great choice with the straws to make the texture of the spines.
There's something fantastic about seeing a big table full of children's creations....

All in all we had a great (if exhausting) day. I really hope they took something valuable away from the experience. I know I definitely did :) A BIG thanks to all the children who were really lovely and very well behaved!

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