Jump to content
  • Announcements

    • Jennifer Harnetty

      Moderators needed!   12/08/2017

      Ceramic Arts Network is looking for two new forum moderators for the Clay and Glaze Chemistry and Equipment Use and Repair sections of the Ceramic Arts Network Community Forum. We are looking for somebody who is an active participant (i.e. somebody who participates on a daily basis, or near daily) on the forum. Moderators must be willing to monitor the forum on a daily basis to remove spam, make sure members are adhering to the Forum Terms of Use, and make sure posts are in the appropriate categories. In addition to moderating their primary sections, Moderators must work as a team with other moderators to monitor the areas of the forum that do not have dedicated moderators (Educational Approaches and Resources, Aesthetic Approaches and Philosophy, etc.). Moderators must have a solid understanding of the area of the forum they are going to moderate (i.e. the Clay and Glaze Chemistry moderator must be somebody who mixes, tests, and has a decent understanding of materials). Moderators must be diplomatic communicators, be receptive to others’ ideas, and be able to see things from multiple perspectives. This is a volunteer position that comes with an honorary annual ICAN Gold membership. If you are interested, please send an email outlining your experience and qualifications to jharnetty@ceramics.org.

Recommended Posts

I just accepted a secondary Ceramics and Sculpture position, and I'm waiting for the school district to install HEPA air cleaners before I can start teaching ceramics. Here's the catch: the district is unable to state when they'll install the new equipment (it could be tomorrow or in 6 months), but I still have to teach a group of 30 9th and 10th graders who are enrolled in a course titled "Ceramics 1". 

 

What could I teach my class that will still be relevant to ceramics without the clay (bizarre, I know!)? Right now, I have modeling clay, a project where they draw 50 different 3D forms, and a unit where they divide into groups to research and present the history of ceramics to each other... but I'm stuck beyond that.

 

One last tricky bit: many of my Ceramics 1 students are also in my Sculpture 1 class, so I want to keep standard sculpture projects out of the ceramics class if possible. 

 

Thanks in advance for your help!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest JBaymore

Interesting issue.

 

If the school district is relying on HEPA air filtration to solve any "dust" issues....... they kind of have it backwards.

 

What other materials are used in the classroom that they are NOT concerned about?

 

best,

 

..................john

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If my kid was enrolled in Ceramics and was not able to work in natural clay (not substitutes) I would be pretty aggravated, and she would be royally disappointed. False advertising, using my tax dollars, so to speak. And students are not likely to love with drawing exercises and art history research instead of, or out of proportion to, actually working with real clay.   

 

Are the parents aware of what has happened?

 

If the school board doesn't provide basic safety, and effectively constrains the ability to use proper materials, the issue perhaps should be formally addressed, rather than just waiting around for some equipment installation that might even never happen.  

JohnnyK likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wiping table tops with damp clothes and mopping around work areas will reduce the dust.  Have the kids hand build or coil and no sanding.  Harbor freight sells some flat masks for cheap that I use in my shop.  They are so comfortable I forget I have them on.  I had a teacher that had the students do the cleaning, she would say if you wanted to work with clay you had to learn how to clean the studio.  To get the school in gear call in on a tip line to a news station about the problem.  They would love to get a hold of a story like that and exaggerate how much danger the kids are in.  I have never taken a class in a room with a hepa filter, my college clay area didn't even have windows, heating or air conditioning. Denice

D.M.Ernst and Chilly like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest JBaymore

......... she would say if you wanted to work with clay you had to learn how to clean the studio. 

 

 

Absolutely critical skill and attitude to impart.  Curriculum Objective #1.

 

best,

 

.................john

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sure, there are a bunch of things, that you could use to teach things similar to clay processes.  However, nothing is exactly like clay.  Even the modeling type isn't the same.  It molds in a similar fashion, but as it never really dries, it doesn't stiffen, so you could teach carving at the drier stages.  Also, as nearly all the basics of hand-building involve slip and/ or water, to attach and smooth, you would be skipping this step, with other processes.  

 

Is the School requiring you to get the filter first, or is that your requirement?  I have never had a classroom, with an air filter, and I am not saying that in a "Pfff, I don't need all them fancy safety measure nonsense!"  It's just that I show students how I expect them to clean up, and get on their case if they do not.  We use wet sponges on the tables and cement board work surfaces, and wet mop if need be.  At the end of the Semester, we give the entire room, especially the clay area, a thorough, deep clean.  My point is, if you CAN get started with clay, then I would do so.  Clay projects can take a while as is, so I would use all the time you can get.

Chilly likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmmmm, I worked for nearly 15 years before the district sprung for HEPA type air circulations system. We had assigned duties by table. Four people to a workbench type table. Each table would to a duty on rotation. Duties included Floor, Tables, Tools, Sink, & glaze areas or counters. Why not assign individual students. . . as a team clean up was quicker, and if one student was absent the others took up the slack. Everything was cleaned with bucket brigades, except for the floor where it was swept. I know, sweeping raises dust, but then we didn't know at the time. . . know better now.

 

So  do you have textbooks? Do you do introductory history/appreciation of ceramics and sculpture? Do you talk about craft vs art, or different processes like additive/subtractive etc.? These things can be used to stall a bit, but then you really need to work on the district to move things along with a campaign of some sort to either be allowed to work with the clay without, or to move the installation date that is nailed down and earlier than 6 months away.

 

 

best,

Pres

Chilly likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest JBaymore

I teach at the college level.  We have a significant studio setup, and lots of undergrad MAJORS and grads working in our spaces.  Not a HEPA filter unit in sight (except on the Nilfisk vac and the faces of students when in certain situations).

 

WET cleaning, local pickup ventilation on significant stationary sources (glaze lab stations, kilns, etc.) and general dilution ventilation (air turnover) with fresh conditioned air.

 

The standard sequence in industrial ventilation is 1.  Local pickup  2.) Dilution ventilation 3.)  Air filtration.  And before all of that process assessment to find places that stop contaminants from getting airborne in the first place.

 

best,

 

..................john

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I will also say, one thing that REALLY cut down on the dust for me, was a switch/ upgrade to our work surface(s).  Since I started teaching, I used canvases.  My college studio had them, though attached to the tables, and my first classroom, already had them, when I got there.  So, when I got to my current District, I went out and bought some as well.  In many discussions here, I saw posters warning that canvas is not the best option, as they collect the dust, and let it loose when moving the canvases around.  It wasn't that I disagreed with that, but the canvases were the most logical choice, as they were light weight, and took up very little space.

However, after seeing a few people mention cement board, I decided to look into that.  I finally made the switch last year.  Sure, they aren't nearly as light, but the dust doesn't get embedded in the work surface, doesn't go through the board and get on the table, and doesn't whip dust around, every time they are moved.  

The tables stay cleaner, as does every other surface of the room.  

 

They were well worth the pain in the butt it took to cut them down to size, with a utility knife...  I can't stress how much of a pain in the butt that was...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am intrigued with the cement board.  I know I can get it at the hardware store. Does it not warp or breakdown when it gets wet? Do you have anything covering it or do students work right on the cement board? Thanks. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The students can work right on the cement board. The cement board will need plywood backing to be strong enough. Place 1/2 inch plywood on the table then screw the cement board onto the plywood. Also, the cement board will suck the moisture out of the clay. Might want to wipe down the cement board prior to working on it.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.