I thought I’d switch Friday videos up this week and try a subject we haven’t really approached on the site before: children and ceramics. At first I expected to find child prodigies: kids making ceramics that were so good it would demoralize me from ever attempting to try myself. I instead found something that is a little more auspicious, which I’m calling Ceramics Summer Camp.
These are variations on the process videos we love so much around here. Seeing young people behind the wheel for the first time brings the practice into a kind of focus. Skilled potters are so slick as they make ceramics that it looks more like a magic trick than a skill. With children you get to see the basics brought into sharp relief. They teach you why this is an art form. More than that, the glee and enthusiasm with which kids approach clay is refreshing and it’s easy to understand why children love it: ceramics are tactile, you make them on a fun spinning machine, you get to make a mess! I’ve seen hundreds of pottery videos and I’ve never heard a potter who sounded this happy:
Ceramics seem like a great way to educate children, not only on the field, but more broadly in terms of things like patience. It helps that there is a tangible reward waiting at the end of a project. Many lines of work only reward someone in the abstract, but with clay you get to watch a shapeless blob transform before your very eyes. Here’s one I found where a potter visits Daksha Kids School. She guides the boy’s hands as they make a vase together.
There’s a surprisingly large market for toy potter wheels, as it turns out. I found several while looking for videos for this post. The one below may be my favorite, probably because the loud grinding sound this thing makes is so comical. This wheel rotates at maybe a third of the speed of a normal wheel, making it far less intimidating. In fact, I wonder if a beginner adult could benefit from one. Education blogger Susan Evans has some tips on teaching beginning pottery to kids. You can find those here.
Design Basics in Scotland
“Let’s learn about industrial design!” is probably a tough sell for kids, but educators at the National Museum of Scotland found a way to engage them. The trick is to connect the process to things that are familiar, demystifying both. The class got to try their own ceramic transfers and the results are impressive. Hell, I’m 33 and I wouldn’t mind having my own Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles plate.
I lied about child prodigies
I’m closing out this week with a video I have little context for, other than it shows a kid about a third of my age who is a better potter than I can ever hope to be. The music selection is a bold choice, but the boy’s skills are undeniable.
That’s all for now. Have a great weekend, everyone! I’ll be back in seven.
Bill Rodgers is a writer for cfile.daily.
Do you love or loathe these videos of contemporary ceramics? Let us know in the comments.