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Introduction to Clay and Glass

By Emily ’25

The visual arts program at Harvard-Westlake covers different types of art, including clay and glass. Ever since I was little, I was interested in working with clay. My sister took pottery classes and every time she would bring home her work I was amazed at how a lump of clay could turn into a beautiful work of art. When course selections for eighth grade came around, I immediately jumped at the chance to take Introduction to Clay and Glass, and let me tell you, the class is a lot of fun!  If someone is looking for a hands-on beginner experience with clay then this is the class for them.

In this class, there were many different and interesting assignments. As an introduction to the course, we learned about the different tools and how to use them. We experimented with a little bit of clay and practiced rolling the clay out and working it into many different shapes. Throughout the next few weeks, we learned how to attach pieces of clay together through hatching and also how to coil and pinch. With the necessary skills now fresh in our mind, the first assignment, which was to make different pinch pots (a pot made from pinching a ball of clay and shaping it into a pot) was given to the class. The first pinch pot was to be painted contrasting colors, the second painted with negative and positive space, and the third to be made into an organic shape.  Using my new found knowledge about clay, I worked tirelessly for multiple classes and in the end was extremely satisfied with how my pots turned out. The second assignment was to create an object out of clay that related to everyday activities, for example, sculpting a toothbrush. Sculpting everyday objects was a lot of fun and it was cool to see how similar they were to real objects. In the final assignment, we created an object replicating a totem or an amulet and then made a mold out of it using a mixture of silicon. We took the clay out of the silicon mold and poured resin into it and let it harden, after which our objects became a figurine.

While taking Introduction to Clay and Glass, I learned how to work with different types of clay and how to create objects in different styles though those three projects. This class also gives students the ability to exercise their creative freedom within the guidelines of a project whether it is how to make your sculptures or how to paint them. Painting the clay objects, as well incorporating other elements of art like mixing colors and making molds helped make the class more interesting. The class does not meet every day, therefore there are plenty of opportunities to take your time and perfect your piece. Overall, I recommend Introduction to Clay and Glass to everyone because it is a great way to try out clay as a form of art.

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Tags: , Last modified: September 23, 2021