Year 27 ~ Rewind

I’m feeling a little nostalgic and even though we aren’t even half way through summer vacation yet, I spend a lot of time thinking about school, my students and reflecting on how our time together was spent. It was a good year, that started out a little rough, (see blog post) but went pretty well in the end. Here is a tiny sample of the work that came out of artroom14 this year. I’m proud of my students and am so glad that I got to spend ten months watching them create. See more of my students’ work on Instagram and Pinterest

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Inspiration Games

Sometimes it’s hard to know where our inspiration comes from. We see, hear and react to things all the time, non-stop. It’s a blur!

I thought it would be fun to turn getting inspiration into a series of games (spinners, dice & cards!) This way my students can follow their thoughts and track the origins of their future ideas.

Sometimes, inspiration is generated within the artist from seemingly random elements and personal forces. The artist jumps off of these elements and away they go! My students participated in a series of “games” that were designed to provide them with words that would spur their thinking, allowing them to create a functional or sculptural piece using the words they received. Below are some pieces my 9-12the grade students created. It proved to be a challenging exercise because they couldn’t just google “fork, conical, holes, pride” or scour pinterest to get an idea, they had to use what they received and they were all on their own!

The inspiration games they used to get to their finished pieces are below the work, if you want to play along. You’ll have to supply your own die and cards!  :-)

1. Spin the wheel and write down the object that you land on!

2. Spin this wheel and write down the emotion that you land on!

3. We rolled Dice and wrote down the form associated with the number.         (1. Angular,  2.Conical, 3. Spherical, 4. Cylindrical, 5. Square, 6. Rectangular )

4. We picked a Card and wrote down the directive that was on the card (Inside Out, Up Side Down, elongate, holes, open, closed, melting, exaggerate, stretch)

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“A Place at the Table”

In honor of Election Day, my Ceramics II students set out to select a social issue that they were passionate about. I wanted their opinions to have a “place at the table” and for their voices to matter. Their challenge was to represent their stand on their chosen issue in the form of plate or place setting.

After the plates were complete, we set them up as an installation and invited the 11th and 12th grade social studies classes down to view the work. The visiting groups talked about and analyzed what issue they believed each plate represented. It was interesting to listen to the students carefully figure out what the art was saying to them.

The event took place two days before the election results were reported, and it already feels like a million years have passed, and not just a month. Whatever the future holds, at least we can say, “The issues that matter to us had a place at the table…even if it only lasted a day.”  I’m so very proud of my students.

Here is a link to their commercials. Below are pictures of their work and the installation.

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Back to School Night x 27

I love Back to School Night. Always have, always will.

Tonight is number 27 for me and I am so glad that my students’ parents come to the school to spend time with their child’s teachers! Thanks for being here to support our school.

27 years comes up fast. Still doing what I love keeps me young (at heart at least).


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Art Open House

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On December 23rd, the visual arts students hosted an open house in art room 14. Each art student was allowed to invite 3 friends to the art room during their regular scheduled class period. It was a half day, so the periods were shorter. During their time in the art room, visitors enjoyed looking at 2D art hanging on the walls and got to nibble on the holiday treats that were served in handmade work created by the ceramics students. Food was brought in by the students, and the HT Arts Parents Guild helped with filling in the gaps (paper products, flowers etc) and financially supporting the event! It was a SUPER day!! Thanks to everyone who helped make it happen!


Panoramic of the room. It’s a big room – but not quite this big!



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Giving Time to Twitter

Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 9.59.41 AMSometimes we do things without fully knowing where they will lead us, but we do them anyway! Maybe we’re curious, maybe we’re adventurous, or maybe we’re a little bit of both!

For me, as an artist, doing is what leads to the knowing. Doing is how I learn and how I figure things out. It’s inherently that way for everyone, but sometimes we get bogged down by all the things we have to “do” that it’s not fun – because no matter what it is…doing anything (even brushing your teeth) takes time!

After nearly 3 years of “doing” twitter, it’s starting to make sense to me. I thoroughly enjoy seeing what I can discover from the individuals and ideas I encounter. For me, twitter operates like a Law of the Universe. Energy attracts energy, and connections are made by what we give and what we seek.

When we switch our thinking from what time takes, to what time gives, everything seems to fall into place. I enjoy giving twitter a little bit of my time, I always get something interesting in return.

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BYB2AC – Bring Your Buddy to Art Class!

My Ceramics II students each created a 4 piece set, consisting of 2 bowls and 2 cups for a special luncheon that we have affectionately referred to as BYB2AC!

Each student created a set of dishes that related in theme and or concept. The relationship between their two pieces needed to consist of more than just color, and it specifically did not have to “match”.  The students spent about 14 class periods building and glazing their pieces to prepare them for the lunch with their buddy.

And today was the day! What fun!! We made more than just ceramic place settings…we fostered a community of artists and art appreciators who shared a meal and spent time with one another. I can’t think of anything that I enjoy more!!


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What TRX is Teaching Me

This summer, I started an exercise class called “TRX – Suspension Training”, and am getting more from the experience than I ever imagined. 11116975_708817699240877_1594546452_nI joined the class because I wanted to be stronger and more fit. Little did I know it would make me think about teaching. I never could have predicted that a workout would make me think about what happens in my art room, but it does.

I’m not very good at TRX. (But I’m getting better.) During every session I am confronted with things I can’t do.

As I hang from the straps and struggle with the things my body can’t do yet, it makes me think about my students, and how they confront things that they don’t know how to do in my class. The knowledge of our own limitations can make us feel vulnerable. How a teacher treats those moments of vulnerability can be a game changer!

My own limitations with TRX has been a humbling experience.  It’s also the perfect reminder that with the right support, encouragement and verbal directives – progress is possible. Clear guidance, combined with patience is the mark of good teaching! My TRX coach, Angela is a great teacher, and is helping me feel more confident and stronger every week! I hope my students can say the same about me.

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Clay Chronicles – when dirt goes digital

I’m thrilled to be presenting again at the AENJ Conference this year! As a former AENJ Conference co-chair in 2012 and 2013, I know first hand the work that goes into planning the conference. Please be sure to thank your AENJ Leadership for all they do…(it’s more than you realize!)

“Clay Chronicles – when dirt goes digital” highlights 25+ years of experience teaching ceramics. The story is long but the take-away is short…never stop learning and figuring out how to share the work your students are creating with anyone and everyone who should (and can) see it.

Below are some images from my presentation – more student work is always being posted on Pinterest. Please email me if you have any questions. I’m happy to share!

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Back to School Night x 26

I love Back to School Night. Always have, always will.

Tonight is number 26 for me and I am so glad that my students’ parents come to school to spend time with their child’s teachers! Thanks for being here to support our school and your family.

26 years comes up fast. Still doing what I love keeps me young (at heart at least).


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