In other words, CLAY SEASON is open at West Hardin! Are you wondering right now, just what exactly is clay season? We'll, it's the time of the year when...
- just about every student is thoroughly excited to begin a new project
- a lump of clay is transformed into a recognizable object
- students walk out of the room with clay smudges on their faces and clothes
- clay dust is on every square inch of the art room and proceeds out the door in a path of foot prints
- the janitor endures graciously the couple of weeks of extra mess (thanks Joyce!)
- most of all, magic happens and lasting memories are created.
I always tell the students that this is likely the only art project that will outlast them. When I heat their clay project in the kiln to 2000 degrees, it will go through a chemical change and is no longer affected by water. Of course, force will always cause damage, but with some care, this clay creation will be a testament to them for generations to come. I encourage them to sign and date their work. I tell them that one of these days, their parents will call them and tell them to come get this box of their stuff. Inside could be this clay project and once they see the date, they will suddenly be reminded of their middle school days at WHMS. I often have former students....some of which are now parents of my current students....to tell me that they still have a project they did while in my class, and many times, it is a clay project. That always makes me feel good to know that they treasure their art work.
As we enter the last days of our time for creating their clay projects, I'm eager to see the final results. To be honest, I'm also taking a deep breath to ready myself for the numerous questions, problem solving issues, etc. I love working in clay, but it sure can takes its toll on my energy level. One day last week, as the sixth group of students to work in clay left and before the seventh group entered a few minutes later, I made a dash to my kiln room to take big gulps of my latest caffeine laden drink. IF I were a gas tank at that time, my gauge would have registered right at empty. I was summoning all the strength I could muster for round seven. About the time I took the second drink, I was interrupted by a melodious rapping on my desk. I open the door to see one of my 8th grade students, Cameron. I wish I had taken a picture, as his eyes were bright and excitement radiated out of him as he said, "Ms. Perkins, I've been waiting for this class all day!" Wow! In that millisecond, I realized that it didn't matter how tired I felt after working with the previous 150 students. I had to be geared up to give my last class the very best I had, as some of them were ready to give me their very best. And you know, Cameron did not disappoint me. By the end of the period, he already had taken a lump of clay and formed it into the head of a beagle. Thanks Cameron for reminding me to be the very best I can be each and every period....because it may be the sixth time that I've worked in clay today, but for each new group of students, it is their first.