The Language of Clay

“We engage clay with our hands and feel it on our skin. There is an intuitive aspect to working with clay; through many encounters, we develop a sense of its fluidity and substance… Before working with clay as an art medium, children need to understand its identity.” – Dee Smith and Jeanne Goldhaber 

The children have been busy researching and exploring the language of clay. Their purpose was to gain an understanding of its properties to better understand its language with the goal of creating additions for their architectural project. Several educators worked together to curate an inviting and engaging space to support individual encounters with clay using authentic working tools to explore, observe, and manipulate.

The children were invited to explore clay using different methods, including using tools to influence the shape and function of the clay, using water to alter its composition, and using their hands to change the shape and study the texture. We observed the children to see what approach they would take in working with the clay and what discoveries they would make. The properties of the clay enabled them to squish it and pull pieces off, use tools to make markings and indentations, explore its ability to hold objects upright, as well as to create different textures and impressions.



The children were invited to explore clay using different methods, including using tools to influence the shape and function of the clay, using water to alter its composition, and using their hands to change the shape and study the texture. We observed the children to see what approach they would take in working with the clay and what discoveries they would make. The properties of the clay enabled them to squish it and pull pieces off, use tools to make markings and indentations, explore its ability to hold objects upright, as well as to create different textures and impressions.



As they explored, we invited the children to reflect on several questions: 

 

“What does the clay feel like?”

“How can you manipulate it?”

“How does water alter the consistency and texture of the clay?”

“What design does each tool make?”

“How can you attach pieces of clay together?”

For this stage of the exploration, the children were merely becoming more familiar with the language of clay to prepare to create a permanent piece for their project once they are more experienced.



Contributing Researchers: Diana Hurtado, Yesica Reyes, Jenny Gallego, Maria Jose Leiva, Chelsie Braun

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