Back In the Clay

Post by Melinda Cummings

Lakeview Elementary School was lucky enough to get a kiln this year. In order to hone my skills for teaching ceramics, I took a pottery class at Tidewater Visual Arts Center last fall. I did not realize the commitment I was making at the time. I thought we would make a pinch pot, a couple vases, a plate, and maybe a few cups. By the end of this course, we made twenty pieces or more. We did hand built pots, vases, and boxes, then wheel thrown vases, bowls, plates, and cups—almost a whole set of dishes for a setting of four. I spent many nights and weekends in the studio completing projects while trying to keep up with writing lessons plans, running to my son’s baseball games, and grabbing takeout dinner for the family. Although it was demanding, the class was gratifying and a wonderful, creative outlet that I have not had in a very long time. I look forward to using some new ideas to spark my students’ imagination with clay projects. Here are some of the pieces I made in class.

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For this vase, I used a hand building technique to join two pinch pots together and create a small vase. A hole is cut in the top; a neck ring and a foot ring is added. A carved, flower applique was added to one side of the vase for emphasis. This glaze combination was one of my favorites.




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I created a unified set of 4 separate slab tiles inspired by the artist Romero Britto. His artwork is bright, colorful, and includes lots of simple, playful patterns just like each tile has been designed. The broken heart is laced together with leather cording to create the unity of all the pieces.


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Prior to building this box a full scale paper replica was made. This helped to eliminate any unforeseen problems and created a perfect template to cut each slab. The slab box has leaf applique designs and a carved bottom. The handle is designed from a carved leaf, and a secret hidden leaf was also added using applique to the inside of the box.

5-13-2016 9-32-53 AMMy wheel thrown pieces are simple and functional. I wanted to focus my attention on good craftsmanship before trying anything too fancy on the wheel.5-13-2016 9-33-19 AM

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