Tuesday, April 19, 2011

hot from the kiln! a few finished handmade ceramic pieces, white tumblers, blue coffee cups / mugs

blue glazed, pinched stoneware coffee cups / mugs, white glazed, pinched tumbler set

in the early world, elwyn s. richardson

 
just a few of the gorgeous image plates from "in the early world," by elwyn s. richardson

I made a remarkable pottery and craft book find this weekend browsing a neighborhood antiques store I frequent. Written in 1969, "In The Early World," by Elwyn S. Richardson is his account of teaching school children in a rural Australian school. I've read only the foreward and introduction so far, opting to flip repeatedly through the warm images of pottery, linoleum prints, and poetry by these amazing, young school children.

A few enticing tidbits I have gleaned:

"In this school too there was proper recognition of the making propensity. Homo faber and homo ludens were together in the child who thought and felt. Studies and activities grew naturally out of what preceded them. New techniques were discovered and skills practised as each achievement set new standards." In such an 'integrated curriculum the integrity of persons is preserved even more than the integrity of topics. Children recognize themselves in and through the things they make. From their paintings, their prints and their pottery they learn answers to the question "Who am I?'"
and...

"And always the school functioned as a community, a community of artist-scientists...not in spite of but because of the individualism of its members--each person counted and was expected to make his own contribution to its life."

sustainable, eco-friendly practices in the pottery studio

 hamsas & free-form pendants & charms formed from clay scraps

Ever slowly but persistently I continue adding pieces to a full dinner set collection I've dreamed of completing for years.

Initial forming of  large plates beginning with slabs yields lots of leftover scraps large and small that, as all potters do, I re-process into workable clay. But I realized I could save energy, the earth's and mine, by innovating and creating items directly from the un-used remnants. The first pieces I made from these scraps will be part of the dinner set collection, very small plates about four inches in diameter. I'm not sure I'd them if I'd not been thinking of ways to maximize scrap usage. And this weekend I took the up-cycling further, making small, decorative hamsas and free-form, organic necklace pendants and jewelry charms.

My up-cycling of clay scraps is a small gesture, but I feel that all small actions snowball into larger effect. If you want to read more on greening your pottery studio and practices, the May, 2011 Ceramics Monthly magazine had a good article on sustainable studios.
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