What do art teachers do in their time off? Art projects, of course. Clay Cunningham and his wife added a new mosaic ceramic top to their picnic table during their summer off. Not a bad idea for a classroom project as well – maybe something in the courtyard at school…
As Clay Cunningham explains in today’s post about Posey Bacopoulos, majolica is the perfect technique for potters with small studios because it requires only one glaze, a few overglazes, and an electric kiln. I am sure many of you can relate to the small studio factor, so I thought this would be a good technique to excerpt from our latest free download: Three Great Ceramic Glazing Techniques: How to Formulate Successful Crystalline Glazes, add Depth Through Carving and Layering, and Glaze in the Majolica (Maiolica) Style.
Since this is a high school, the students and faculty need to be in classes six straight hours a day, everyday. To avoid conflicts, I decided to direct the project in the form of a summer workshop in June. With a healthy mix of eight adult potters from the community and ten students from the high school, we had plenty of able hands, as well as a safe and constant adult/student firing team. I planned a single-chamber kiln that would have great atmospheric potential, yet would fire over a weekend during the school year. Instructed as a three-week course, we spent the first week building the kiln, the second week making pots and sculptures, and the third week loading, firing and cooling the kiln.
An anagama kiln at a high school? That seems highly unlikely, doesn’t it? Many high school art teachers feel lucky to have a wheel and a small electric kiln. But Council Bluffs, Iowa, high school art teacher Clay Cunningham was determined. And with careful planning and execution, he, his students and some local potters made this vision a reality (and with great results, like the vase at left by student Rick Devoss). Today, in an excerpt from the July/August 2009 issue of Pottery Making Illustrated, Clay shares the process and plans for building the “High School Anagama.”