Grade School Ceramics - To Keep or Not to Keep?
By ldskatelyn on December 19, 2011
My mother decided she wanted to clean out her house last November and brought me a bunch of stuff from my old bedroom when we got together for Thanksgiving. I, who probably have the least amount of room of my siblings, was given more things to store. I went through it more thoroughly as I moved this last month. There were some gems among the items, like all of my grade school report cards and band programs, but sadly, I decided that some things were just not worth keeping… specifically some old grade school art.
I am not a ceramicist, a potter, a clay-worker. I may have recently sold a ceramic piece to my in-laws, but that was perhaps the best piece of ceramics I have ever made, and they just happened to be rather fond of it.
But, the rest of my ceramics have lacked this same artistic beauty. It’s interesting that as I was looking and taking pictures of my grade school ceramic pieces how little I feel I actually learned while making these pieces. I learned more in the one seven week block class I took at BYU, and could have learned a lot more if I had taken the advanced course.
Speaking of that class, it felt really great to work with clay. I have no questions about the very real artistic sensibility about making art from clay. It’s direct. It’s emotional. Every effort you put into it gets an immediate and direct result. It’s fun and it’s a release! But, sadly I just don’t have the knack for it. Maybe I could get decent at it someday. I can only hope!
Anyways, I decided that since I did not want to keep, store, and protect my old grade school pieces in the several (and very probable) moves we’ll take within even the next five years, I decided to take their pictures and bid them adieu.
So, I would now like to present to you what, I, a “big-shot artist” (I know you are all laughing), did when I was just a little girl. In first grade I made my very first pinch pot! What a beauty! It once upon time even came with an ill-fitting lid. I am impressed with my detail work I put in around the outside. (I actually kept this one…) In second grade I made an awesome alligator! I mean look at this thing! The legs may have broken off once or twice (each possibly) and be holding on with super glue, but it’s still looks good! The coloring is especially nice, as well as all the texture. It once had a small nest with two very large eggs in it, that I used to keep in the pot I made in the first grade but I have no idea where the nest is now. (I also kept this piece.) In third grade (I think) I made this alien. Sadly, this is actually a redo, and did not turn out as good as the first one I made (according to my recollection). After I got the first one out of the kiln, and was taking it back to my seat, I was bumped into by someone and it flew out of my hands and shattered across the floor. I was devastated and remember crying about it. The only piece that was salvaged was the bottom flat piece, which the teacher let me paint a robin’s egg blue and keep, though I don’t know where it is now. Since mine broke, the teacher had me re-make mine, and I put this one together a little quicker than the first and this is how it turned out. This is actually one of the few pieces I remember the process of how I made it. We made a flat bottom piece, crumpled up newspaper on top, and then put a new layer of clay over it, making sure to leave a hole so that the paper would burn and it would be hallow inside.
I think I was a weird child… I was kind of obsessed with aliens at the time, and I remember having several, sometimes reoccurring, dreams that had aliens, dinosaurs, and natural disasters in them… Plus I had older siblings who affected what I watched and drew…
I don’t remember exactly what grade it was when I made this UGLY thing, but I think it was fourth or fifth. I know how I made this one. We took a container and wrapped clay on the outside. I think this is easier than the pinch pot I made in first grade. The face at the bottom it horrendous and I hate it… so moving on.
In sixth grade I made this weird head thing. He/she is supposed to, I think, look like a “Skeeter” drawing that my brothers Trevor and Tyler used to doddle and make comics about when they were in middle school. I don’t know why I gave “it” a hat, but the sun on his shirt matches the one of the previous piece. Let’s just say that a whole lot of thought didn’t go into this one, and it is now no longer in my possessions. He/she is supposed to, I think, look like a “Skeeter” drawing that my brothers Trevor and Tyler used to doddle and make comics about when they were in middle school. I don’t know why I gave “it” a hat, but the sun on his shirt matches the one of the previous piece. Let’s just say that a whole lot of thought didn’t go into this one, and it is now no longer in my possessions.
In middle school I made this nice four-sided box. While I think the detail work, especially on the clarinet are great, there was no way I was going to keep a quasi big ceramic piece that was dedicated to my (used to be) three best friends and I, considering I only occasionally talk to them now. It would feel weird to display it in my home and have people wonder, who are these people?
In high school I also made this crazy monster. The monster used to be holding a big knife (or spoon? I don’t remember) and fork, but they broke off almost immediately. The face is one of the ugliest things I have ever seen and I don’t know why I made it so ugly other than I think I was inspired by “Ahhhh! Real Monsters” a TV show that used to be on Nickelodeon. I actually love the bright shiny green of his skin and the other color choices as well, but sadly this freaky thing had to go (per my husband’s request as well!)
In high school I used a spinning wheel, my one and only time, and made this bowl. And while the top may not be level, it’s not bad for my first attempt. I kept it simple in the color scheme as well which I like. We kept this one as well. If you want to see what I did in college, CLICK HERE.
So, my question now is what do you, as a parent, do with art your child brings home that really is ugly? Do you really store it for years and then give it back to them? Do you quietly dispose of it when your child is not looking? And do you as an artist still have your artwork from grade school? (I actually have most of the paper art I did as well. Maybe I’ll write about them someday.) As an artist do you ever throw your stuff away? Is it really hard for you to do?
I am really curious so please comment!
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