Friday, July 27, 2012

Coil Pots- Native American Style

I haven't done this assignment since the late 80's with my Ceramics I kids, but I brought it back this year, and  so glad I did.  The kids enjoyed the project and we had many really nice results.  Years ago I made a full class set (over 35) of these fairly small clay pinch pot bowls in various sizes called pokies (not sure of the spelling anymore).  So each child picks one that looks the most interesting to them and builds their coil pot inside it.   They use the pokie as a support, and as they build upward they use it as a wheel head to turn their work as they go.  It's like a potter's wheel head or a banding wheel.  When I made these pokies, I bisqued then sawdust fired them so that the clay will pop out when they are done with their pot.

This top pot was one of my favorites and was made by sophomore Ann Munoz.  I love the metallic compounds that she rubbed over the sawdust fired finish, and of course the stitching along the top edge.  
As the students were building their pots I asked them to be thinking about what they wanted to embellish with at a later date.  So, did they need to poke holes in the walls to dangle things from, or to weave fibers thru?

These next 2 above were done by seniors Alice Cho and Priya Shah.  See how Priya punctured holes around her rim but then she didn't use them to dangle anything from, instead they work as surface design.  She definitely took the easy way out, but guess what, it works  :)

Below senior Michael Marin alternated buttons and beads for a really good look along the side of his pot.  And look also at the beautiful sawdust markings on the pot.  Lovely.  You never know what you are going to get when you sawdust, but usually it's always a nice surprise.
Once again, this assignment was done during the end of the school year so they had to scavenge thru the trinkets left in the classroom, or bring in their own.  I feel the kids came up with some very creative solutions.
I bisque and sawdust fired their pots then they had a choice as to their finish.  They could brush on watered down glue to seal them and give them a slight sheen, or they could rub them with metallic finishes.  But they all had to embellish.

Above we have seniors Andy Hwang and Sagar Shah.  I was really impressed with the shape Andy was able to achieve in this coil technique.  And I like how Sagar finished his piece off with metallics, stitching and buttons.

Below senior Shavonna Walker did some really cool embellishing with waxed linen, braiding and beads.

Junior Fernando Jacinto went all out on his bowl above.  Great use of color, and other findings from my goodie boxes.  I also really like the uneven edge treatment.  It makes the piece look more organic.  Great job Fernie!  
Another favorite of mine was completed by sophomore Tahnee Thantrong below.   Tahnee is a fabulous designer and I'm really looking forward to working with her again next year.  Notice how she necked the shoulder area in and squared it off?  And then added those sweet handles?  With the perfect embellishment? Brilliant!!!

And look at this beauty by senior Lorena Morales.  Love the incised decoration inside, and then how cool the sawdust finish looks as well.

Senior Michelle Lee is next with this fun feather piece, a bit of wire, waxed linen and beads.

And lastly, this very contemporary looking sculpture by junior Rita Labib.  Rita chose the largest pokie, and instead of doing a typical ending, used some ripping, and manipulating of her rim to get a really gorgeous looking piece.  Rita choose to put her embellishment in before the firings.  She pushed nails right into the clay when it was still plastic for a great look.  
Rita has also inspired me for next school year.   I think I'm going to require the kids to come up with an asymmetrical ending, so that no one ends up with a traditional looking piece.  And look at how lucky she got with the sawdust finish, fabulous markings.


  1. Wow - it's really interesting to see how each student's pot is so different, they are all beautiful!

  2. Wow these are amazing. I love the idea of combining some sort of embellishment afterward.Really makes them so interesting to look at.

  3. I am a year and a half late! But all of these are absolutely fabulous and inspirational. Makes me want to grab my clay and pinch something like these (I always prefer pinch pots, eheh). I hope you've continued to do this project - all of them turned out fabulously.