Friday, August 18, 2017

Clay Lab For Kids

We live in a time when strapped school systems, already cut to the bone, have to make the impossible decisions about 'what has to go'.  It's tragic that all too often the first thing to be cut are the arts and art education.  So we have generations of stressed unhappy kids who are still not learning to love education and the educational process, still struggling with math and science, and who aren't lifelong lovers of reading either.

I really believe (as a product of an education which included music, dance, and visual and creative arts) that arts are vital to a quality education.

This book is a great collection of 'labs' - projects for young artists to grow and experiment and build up techniques with a bunch of different types of clay.  The emphasis is on allowing kids gently guided access and letting them create.  The author is an art educator and artist and has so much valuable advice.  (Don't take over for the young artist and 'correct' their project, their projects won't always look like the things in the book - and that's as it should be! etc)

The 52 projects are very well photographed and the tutorials support the artistic process.  The techniques, from pinch pots to coil pressed pots, to polymer clay are basic methods for building a good basic working knowledge of clay (in various forms) and the strengths and weaknesses of the different media. The projects are arranged in units with related themes. Unit 1 introduces basic concepts and is mostly slanted to the educator/parent/facilitator. Unit 2 deals with air-drying clays and basic techniques.  Unit 3 deals with sculpture (including a project for a marionette that is -really- cool). Unit 4 deals with polymer clay and how it behaves including a segment on color mixing.  Unit 5 is more sculpture with poly-clay. Unit 6 - making your own clay and further exploration.

The book includes a useful resource guide with further reading and online resources.

There is so much fun in this book. 
Heartily recommended!

Five stars
Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher.

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