Mrs. Kayla Whitsett is molding artists in a new way at Dogwood. Just before Thanksgiving, Dogwood became the third GMSD elementary school to have its own kiln. The kiln is opening up more opportunities for students to express themselves through three-dimensional art.
“I was reading an article about how working with clay helps with dexterity practice,” Whitsett said, “and I started thinking about how I could use that in my classes.”
Whitsett always loved ceramics in college, so exploring that with elementary students seemed like a natural step. She also recognized that some students are good at 3D art, whereas they may shy away from drawing because they do not feel like they have artistic talent.
“Students are engaged when they are working with the clay,” Whitsett said. “They are more willing to experiment. Some are hesitant to experiment with drawing, but they go for it with the clay.”
Fifth graders made pinch pot monsters. Students took their thumbs and made a hole in the clay, making a pot. Then they creatively added to the pot to design their monster. Third graders made penguins on ice. They made a hole in the clay and filled the hole with glass beads. They learned about how glass will melt to make material that looks like ice. Then they had to experiment with the number of glass beads it would take to form the best ice. In the Art Club, students made their names out of clay and fired them. All groups experimented with different kinds of glazes to see the outcomes.
The students in the specialized instruction class also got a chance to experiment with clay. The class was studying textures, so they made medallions with a press plate. Some of the designs had ridges. Others had bumps. They felt the different textures before firing the medallions, and then they figured out how different the medallions feel with a glaze.
The 3D art empowers students to find their creative side and explore questions that they have never considered before.