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stimulating a childs interest in ceramic art

updated sun 8 mar 98


Info Sys on thu 5 mar 98

ClayArt Folks,

I need to ask experts, devotees, lovers of ceramic art a very important
question. It'd be a big
favor to me to get some input from as many as possible and a pleasure
to have your insight.

Imagine that you could spend 1/2 hour with a 9 year old in a museum and
introduce them to Ceramic Art for the very first
(and possibly last) time in their life. Assume they know nothing about
ceramics, and would continue to be indifferent to the art form
if you did not have this opportunity .

If the child could leave that museum experience with one single insight
that would stimulate them, make them curious, peek their interest and
gain their first understanding or appreciation of the art form...what
would that insight be?

I said Id only ask one question so ignore the following questions and
respond to that one if you wish. Any responses to the list or myself
personally ( would be greatly appreciated....

Id sure appreciate any additional input regarding:

What angle or "hook" would one might use with a 9 year old to stimulate
interest in ceramic art?
What else might stimulate to child to be curious about ceramics?
What elementary concepts do you believe are most critical to fostering
or nuturing understanding or appreciation of the art?

Please feel free to respond directly to
and thank you so much for your time and input.

Mark Smith

Christi Grame on fri 6 mar 98

It's been my experience with kids, that a museum is not really the way to
peak interest especially in ceramic arts. Kids are more hands on and
museums that specialize in children know this. They would be much more
interested in making something in clay before they learn about it in a
museum. Just my thoughts.

Christi Grame
Grame Studios

* "Imagination is more important than knowledge." *

TERRAOPERA on fri 6 mar 98

I teach 9-12 yr olds every Sat. the basics of making things of clay and over
the years I've found that they are aware of the ceramic objects around them
and have used lots of clay in school. Is this research for a paper? The kids
mostly like making figures best, so maybe the thing to show them in the museum
would be the sculpture. My own clay rich kids get dragged to the museums often
and I think I remember that at 9 they liked the funnury figures from the
chinese tombs that they have in the Phila.Museum of art. that museum has
tons of beautiful clawork,and the range is fantastic.

MGibb21521 on fri 6 mar 98


I might bring a small lump of clay wrapped in a baggie into the museum with
me, so that while we were looking at a piece, I could pull out the baggie and
let the child feel the clay in the state in which the piece began.

A story to share. . .

When my daughter was about 3and a half, we visited the clay studio of a
friend, my friend gave my daughter a small piece of clay to play with. She
brought it into the car and played with it while we drove home. She put it in
the cup holder by her seat. The next day, we got in the car to go somewhere
and all of a sudden she was laughing and yelled, "Mom, look! I made a

Kids are great! I love to take mine and others to galleries / museums and
hear what they see and have to say about pieces. I have often learned more
from them than they probably learned from me.

Good luck, have fun!

Marie Gibbons

Collier Family on fri 6 mar 98

Dear mark, The key to your question is one word 'Transformation'.
Kids are fascinated by the fact that something can start out as A and
end up as X.

I teach a group of disadvantaged kids English enrichment classes. This
is done by way of discussion and conversation. I took bits and pieces in
all the stages of production w3ith me and explained the process as well
as I could. I also explained about the history etc of ceramics. They
were entranced with the idea that glaze is similar to thin glass etc.
the idea that mud and dust can become beautiful things was a revelation.

Hope this helps

Tracey in Durban, South Africa where fall lasted one week and we are
back in mid summer

paul wilmoth on sat 7 mar 98


The next time that you want to take children to a museum - do it
in a way that they enjoy. GAMES - For instance - have the students listen
to what others are saying about a sculpture ( yes it is eavesdropping,
but that is what makes it exciting for the kids), then discuss what they
heard. It doesn't have to be art history - the idea is to begin a dialog
with art. #2 Have the students make up "what the paintings or statues
talk about at night when everyone has gone home.
I don't know how you have approached your class but I have
always been able to teach kids the most when they did not even know that
they were learning!
Bugs Bunny's rendition of the Barber of Seville has stuck in my
mind since I was five.

My two cents - Paul

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the Gallagher's on sat 7 mar 98

Kids do relate well if they have an idea of what to look for. Talking about
what they will see, providing photos, if possible. Then upon arrival at the
museum, a trick I found helped me get my 4 year old interested in actually
looking around, was to go to the gift shop and purchase a few postcards of
specific items in the museum to look for. Have the child, or children each
pick something to find. They feel really successful and connected to the
individual item when they find it. This also gives them something to take
home, or back to class, that you can talk about later.

In Oregon