HUDSON — Hudson Middle School students have a chance to get their hands dirty this semester in the first ceramics-focused art class.
Melanie Moses teaches the class that she said incorporates art, science, history, culture, leadership and interpersonal communication.
“In this class, the students learn creative problem solving, which is great for everything,” Moses said. “They find out what works and what doesn’t, and clay is so forgiving. You can add or subtract, you can carve it, and if it doesn’t work out, you can put it back.”
The district has had a kiln for about 20 years, but it has never had a ceramics-dedicated lab. Several students said this was their favorite class of the day.
“I love getting down and dirty,” 12-year-old Natalie Wallis said. “This is probably my favorite class. I feel very honored to be in this class.”
“I love being able to talk and play with clay without getting in trouble,” 11-year-old Brooke Sutherland said. “Not many people get to do that.”
Thirteen-year-old Chelsea Smith said she loves learning how to actually make things herself.
“In the future, I can use these skills to earn money,” Chelsea said. “Like, for art club we’re going on a field trip, and we have to have money to pay for it. I can make something, take it home and sell it.”
This was her first week to use the pottery wheel, and she went on her own time to research the best ways to use it. Her favorite things to make in the class are pinch pots and whistles.
The pinch pots are difficult because it is tough to keep the clay from going too thin, Brooke said.
Morgan Hall was busy creating a mug during ceramics class on Friday. To make a mug, Morgan took a block of clay to the slab roller to thin it, then she cut it to the right proportions, then she started shaping it and connecting the ends using the scratch/scratch/water/attach method.
“You scratch the side of it with something hard like a toothbrush, then you spray water on it and attach it,” Morgan said. “You smooth it together, and then you roll out another piece of clay to make a circle to be the bottom, and you use scratch/scratch/water/attach again. Then you make the handle.”
Every piece goes in the kiln to be fired (hardened). Then the students put a glaze on it and fire it again.
Moses said she has been happy with the class so far, but she is hoping to ask for an hour and a half instead of 45 minutes for next year because it is difficult to finish everything in such a small time period.
Moses has plans to collaborate with other classes like the rocket making class to build models. She is currently writing a grant for a 3D clay printer. They also will be teaching some Saturday classes for students at Bonner Elementary and Peavy Primary.
The students will be selling some of their creations throughout the year, including at the Hudson Fall Bazaar on Oct. 8.
“You don’t get a lot of potters anymore,” she said. “For some of these students, this is the first time they have ever used clay.”