Teaching Clay in the Classroom with Jeni Hansen Gard – Part 1

In Part 1 of Teaching Clay in the Classroom, artist and educator Jeni Hansen Gard provides a comprehensive guide to setting up a classroom for teaching ceramics at the K-12 level. Because many K-12 art teachers have to teach this complicated subject with little or no ceramics background, this presentation gives a thorough introduction to ... (Scroll for more.)

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Runtime: 2 hours 45 minutes

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… clay and glaze materials, equipment used in the ceramics studio, classroom safety, and more.

Learn how to:

  • Efficiently set up your classroom
  • Use & store materials safely
  • Use & maintain your equipment

“With an MFA in ceramics and 7 years experience managing a community ceramic studio I wasn’t expecting to learn anything new from this video. What I liked about Teaching Clay in the Classroom was the detail and clarity with which Jeni presents solutions for the many types of challenges facing small or poorly equipped studio spaces. She shares very practical and low cost ideas on how to set up a studio and deal with issues ranging from efficient storage to cleanup to proper waste disposal and everything in between. I found it enjoyable to watch and in the end I even picked up a few new tips I’ll be able to implement at our communal studio.” – Ruth McKinney Burket


Getting started: A go-to teachers’ guide!

Many K12 art teachers are thrust into the clay world with little or no experience with the material. Not only is this situation frustrating for the teacher, but it can even be dangerous. With this video, teachers will learn how to get started teaching ceramics in a safe, fun, efficient way. From the best ways to cut down on studio dust, to safe firing practices, Jeni covers it all.

Classroom setup:

  • Get helpful tips to set up your classroom efficiently and safely
  • Find out what tools you need and how to set up shelving
  • Learn how to maintain a dust-free environment and properly handle ceramic materials
  • Discover a smart way to keep clay out of the drain (and keep maintenance staff happy!)

Proper use of materials:

  • Learn about the stages of clay, from slip to bone dry, to glazed and fired
  • Get tips on how to keep projects workable from week to week
  • Figure out which glazes are best for your needs and learn how to safely mix them
  • Discover how to recycle clay and minimize waste (and materials’ expenses too!)

Proper use of equipment:

  • Find out about safety, maintenance, use and cleaning of the potter’s wheel, slab roller, extruder, and pug mill
  • Pick up great advice on cleaning kiln shelves, and mixing and applying kiln wash
  • Learn how to load and fire a bisque and glaze kiln
  • Discover how to avoid common firing problems
  • Gain an understanding of pyrometric cones and learn to make a cone pack

This informative video will help teachers bring clay into their classrooms in the most efficient and effective way so they can avoid frustration and spend more time helping their students make great work!

About the artist and educator

Jeni Hansen Gard grew up in Grand Haven, Michigan. She received her MFA in ceramics from The Ohio State University, MA in art education from the University of Florida, and BA in art education from Hope College. Jeni was the recipient of the 2015 MJ Wood–DO GOOD Residency at Red Lodge Clay Center and recently completed residencies at the Archie Bray Foundation and Denison University. She is a founding member of the Socially Engaged Craft Collective, a craft and social practice organization. Jeni and her husband, fellow ceramicist Forrest Sincoff Gard, run Gard Clay Studios. To learn more about Jeni Hansen Gard and see more images of her work, please visit www.jenihansengard.com.

Want more Teaching Clay in the Classroom? Check out Parts 2 and 3!

Teaching Clay in the Classroom, Part 2, Handbuilding

Many K-12 art teachers are thrust into the clay world with little or no experience with the material. So we partnered with ceramic artist and educator Jeni Hansen Gard to create a video series to help teachers bring clay into their classrooms in the best way possible! In part 2, Jeni provides a thorough introduction to handbuilding processes for the K-12 level. You'll pick up pinching, coil building, slab construction, handle making, plus loads of tips for avoiding common pitfalls and helping your students succeed!

Learn more!

Teaching Clay in the Classroom, Part 3, Wheel Throwing

In part 3, ceramics educator and artist Jeni Hansen Gard presents an in-depth overview of basic wheel-throwing techniques for the K-12 level. Jeni’s clear instruction is an invaluable tool for K-12 teachers, especially those who are new to teaching ceramics and wheel throwing. You'll learn how to throw and trim cylinders, tumblers, and bowls, plus how to reduce technical obstacles and help your students make great wheel thrown pots!

Learn more!

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