A place to see what is happening in Fine Arts at Rocky Mountain School for the Gifted and Creative

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


wet clay - dry clay - fired clay

Students are mining clay in our own backyard, and delivering it daily to the art room. After collecting about 30 lbs of the stuff (which we think is mostly bentonite,) I have called for a moratorium (no more playground clay until we use what we have!) We have done a test firing and were surprised when the yellow-brown “mud” turned as orange as our commercial terra cotta clay, and that it can be fired at the same temperature (without melting). Our playground clay is stickier and has both organic material and pebbles in it. We have glazed some pieces in clear glaze to observe the result. We have discovered that bentonite comes from volcanic ash, which is why the clay is so fine and sticky. I have learned from my own pottery teacher that if we fire the clay to an even higher temperature, it may “glaze itself.”
In the art studio, science and art often come together. A wise 7 year old RMS student once told me; “we are doing experiments like scientists, but we are being creative like artists.” Authentic integration of this kind is one of our specialties in the art studio.

First pieces to be fired!

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