Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Glaze Alternatives

Wrapping ups clay from our teacher swap a couple of weeks ago.  All 800 plus clay works have been fired and they are now slowly getting back into the hands of my students (and in many cases, their moms for mothers day).  The 5th-grade students made coil pots with Mrs. Davies. She used a bowl form and they turned out great.  One of the cool tricks she used to make sure the clay did not stick to the edges of the bowl was cooking spray.  So clever! The coil pots turned out really nice.

I wanted to give students choice on what their finished work looked like.  I bought only clear glaze this year because I find that my glaze often goes bad because I only use it once a year.  It dries out. So I get one BIG container of clear glaze to use... and let the beauty of the clay show through.  The only problem for my students is the immediate gratification that they so desire.  Many students don't want to put the clay pots back into the kiln a second time, but some do, so I offer it as an option... 

I took this into consideration.  I gave two other alternatives for my 5th-graders to finish their pottery.  I was inspired (as I often am) by AOE's article by Jennifer Borel.  She presents not only the 2 ways that I chose to use to finish these clay bowls, but 15 ways to not use glaze, yet add color to clay.  Click here to read her article

Another option I presented was oil pastels and a black paint resist.  I made the video below to present my instructions and expectations. 

I like the raw color of these works.  Where the students left the grooves a lone, and didn't add the oil pastel, it made for an amazing technique!  

We found that not rinsing the black off from the pots allowed the black to be 'blacker' and the oil pastel still resisted the dark pigment.  

The final option was watercolors and GLITTER!! Come on, who doesn't love glitter? Oh wait, there is a rather awesome blog called Art Teachers Hate Glitter, and Tim Bogatz went off for a long time about how much he despises glitter in Eps. 6 of Art Ed Radio, The Top Ten Things Students Love but Teachers Hate. OK... so not everyone loves glitter, but a lot of students do and this is a SAFE way to use glitter in the art room.

The mixture that I used was 1 part water, 1 part Modge Podge and several generous squirts of glitter glaze. Actually, these bowls turn out stunning! I love this treatment and the kids do too!