“To teach is to learn twice.”
My students arrived at 10 AM sharp.
“So, have you ever worked with clay?” I asked.
“Um…not really.” said Noah.
“None.” Rosalie replied.
My neighbor recently hired me to give private clay lessons to her son and daughter-in-law. I’m usually more comfortable as a student than I am as a teacher, but I’d been thinking about giving lessons here at my house. This was a test run.
My game plan was to skip pinch pots in favor of slab construction, figuring that it would be more interesting to the 20-something couple. I intended on introducing them to texture, making functional pieces. I had a reasonable collection of wooden batik and other stamps, in addition to textured surfaces on which they could roll out the slabs. I also had several slump molds for bowls and platters, and cardboard tubes for cups and mugs. I also had cookie cutters, plus all kinds of carving and other tools.
I showed them some examples of my work, and after a brief discussion of technique and how it applied to the lesson, I led them outside, where I had everything set-up.
We rolled out slabs of clay and they began to work.
I did demos on how to attach handles–in Rosalie’s case, a guacamole dish–and decoration–in Noah’s case, worms on a trivet. I showed them how to drape and press the slab gently around the hump mold to avoid cracking.
I could say it was unfortunate that my students had no experience with clay. I could also say it was fortunate that my students had no experience with clay.
Sure, they asked some technical questions. But mostly, they played with clay and we talked about other things, like, well…Life.
It was a good day.