Friday, May 15, 2020

Virtual Spring Classes at Diana Rose Studio

This Spring, as you all know, has been challenging the way in which we connect as a community. The precautions put in place to keep our community safe in response to COVID-19 has prevented in person teaching at my home studio. In lieu of in person classes I decided to offer an experimental class based on supply kits and online tutorials to a handful of my existing students who wished to continue to create at home during this time.  I called the class CSClay ( Community Supported Clay). Having a creative outlet can be huge in processing emotions during difficult times ( for children and adults alike). This class served as a good way to stay connected to students and offer inspiration and tutorials guiding them in engaging projects that were completed at home ( with a few porch pick up trips back and forth for firing). We focused on Spring theme projects including fairy doors, ceramic wind chimes, berry bowls, stepping stones and more. Here are a few photos of students working on their projects at home. 

I was also able to lead a pottery project for my daughter's Brownie Troop this Spring with a similar structure. Girl scouts picked up a small bag of clay from the studio and took it home where they watched my virtual instructional video on coil building. Our inspirational artist was Magdalene Odundo Magdalene Odundo is a ceramicist known for her hand-built, coil construction and traditional firing techniques. Girl scouts constructed coil vases and then burnished them (traditional method of rubbing with a smooth stone to compress the surface of the clay and make the pot water resistant). Families dropped the finished vases back off at the studio to be fired. I bisqued the work in the kiln and the scouts then wrapped their vases in combustibles (Pine cones, saw dust, twine, newspaper, moss, driftwood, etc.). I loaded the vases into my backyard fire pit and had made a pit firing where I lit a fire until the combustibles has burned, smothered the fire (with weeds pulled from my garden) and covered it to let it smolder until cool. Pit firing is the oldest form of firing pottery dating back to around 30,000BC. The smoke from the atmosphere in the fire is what gives the pots their color. Different elements in the combustibles may leave different colors on the pots. Carbon (newspaper, wood, sawdust, manure)= black, Copper (copper wire, copper dish scrubbies, pennies)= pink, Salt (driftwood, seaweed, potato chips)= yellow. 

Pit fired Vases, Girl Scouts Project,  Spring 2020
I am extremely grateful for the ability to have adapted and navigated classes virtually this Spring. That being said, after much deliberation, I have decided to take the summer off from online teaching so that my focus can be on my family and my own artwork. My plan is to re-assess in the Fall and resume small ( under 10 student) in person classes when safe to do so. Huge thanks to my community and my students for the appreciation and support and have a wonderful summer!!