Crafting pottery relies heavily on the following intelligences:
The creation of non-fiction guides describing construction and appreciation of the art forms with historical and cultural background will rely heavily on the following intellgences:
The arts can become a bridge to the past and present lives of Mexican people. The Mexican people produced pottery and figurines for daily survival up to the 19th century. The 20th century has created a market for the rich designs and quality craftsmanship. These items can be reproduced in classroom settings in integrated curriculum units.
This lesson comes during week 8
Students will compare the methods and cultural significance of each art form in the 19th century and 20th centuries.
Students will experience and create contemporary pottery based on Mexican culture and traditions.
10 bricks per ring (4 pieces of pottery per ring), a sheet of metal 2’x2’, clay, saw dust and bone dry pots and figures from week 6
Pots are built by the coil and pinch methods. Once they are formed to the desired size and shape they are leather hard and ready for carving in designs. The symbols used are usually simple and based on nature. At this stage pieces can be painted with slips or natural dye. Air dry the pottery one to two weeks. It is now greenware and ready to be fired.
Both Tonala and Metapec in Mexico have been central locations for the production of functional, spiritual and artistic pottery. Tonala is know for its animal figures, brightly painted. Metapec is know for their suns, a symbol of life giving energy. Each piece is made by hand and fired in wood or oil brick kiln. Artists in Mexico fire the pieces on their property. The pieces are now ready to paint. Chromatic acrylic paints are the most brilliant and longest lasting.
Procedure: Outdoor Kiln
A shallow pit is dug for the firing. A metal grate supported by tin cans for air circulation is set in the pit. Pots are gently stacked on the grate. A branch and clay chimney is built over the pit or a metal sheet is put over them. At this point a wood fire is stoked for several hours. If a black finish is desired horse manure is thrown into the fire to create a reduction firing . A reduction firing lacks oxygen thus producing a black finish on the pots. Pots fired this way are porous. This allowed for water placed in them to stay cool through natural evaporation.
Wood fires would not be conducive to most city dwellings. For this reason you could have a saw dust firing. The firing also will produce porous black finished pieces. A class of thirty two students could fit their hand built pieces in an eight ring kiln. Place ten bricks in a square configuration on a dry surface such as concrete. Build up the walls. It is important to alternate each row of bricks to insure a sound structure. Clay is smoothed into any crevices. Place 3 inches of saw dust in the bottom and place your first layer of pots. Cover them with more saw dust and begin another layer. Repeat this process until all the pots are loaded. Ignite the sawdust and cover with the sheet metal cover. Newspaper is a good starter for the kiln. The sawdust should burn out in 24 hours.
(figure available in print form)
Remove the pieces from the kiln and smooth with a cloth.
The teacher uses direct observation. Students and teacher share their construction book, finished pieces and reflect on why these art forms have not only survived but are a source of income to the Mexican people.