Volunteer Clay Artist

Jenna Gentzler, a student of ceramics at Kansas State University, taught a workshop for ten 9 to 12-year-old girls today.

“The girls did a great job.  They were good listeners and paid attention to instructions.  They were so eager to see my demonstration at first they they crowded too close.  I had to have them move away a bit to give myself some room to work.  They were especially excited to learn how to add the details to their pots once we got to that point in the project.  They were good at cricitcal thinking.  They had to figure out what to do if there was a problem; how to fix a weak spot or what to do if something went wrong with their design.  They had to problem solve.  If they rolled the clay out and it stuck to the table they had to scrape it all off and try again using Saran Wrap on the table before rolling. 

The girls were very curious and had lots of questions:  Is this coil big enough?  Can I make a something that my dad can actually drink juice out of?  What kind of paint will we use?  Do I need to slip and score every piece or just the big ones?  How soon can we fire these?  Can I add a lid to mine?  Lots of questions!

The girls learned new vocabulary – slip, score, and wedge.  They learned the names of the tools we used: wooden knife and needle tools.  We also used rolling pins but I am pretty sure they already knew the name for those.  They learned how to make a coil from clay and how to build a pot using coils.  They learned how to attach small pieces to a larger piece.

My ultimate goal is to study to become an art therapist.  I really like teaching what I know and using it to develop a relationship.  When you are making something -w hen you are in the act of creating something and you are engaged with that task – it is easier to have free conversation.  I found that to be true with the girls today.  It was very easy to talk to them and to get to know them as we worked on their pots. 

I would recommend volunteering at Girls Inc.  The girls were all very sweet.  They need good influences and they need love.  I had a great time and would love to come back.” – Jenna

Jenna leaves soon for study abroad in Namibia.  Among her other experiences, she will also be teaching art to girls ages 12 through 18 while she is there.  She will bring some supplies with her but will also stay flexible to see what develops, what the girls’ interests are and what is available for her to use locally.  If you would like to follow her experiences (although she is not sure how often she will have computer access!), she will be blogging about her experiences at jennagentz.blogspot.com.

Thanks Jenna, for sharing your talent with Girls Inc. of Omaha.  We’ll post some photos for you after the pots are glazed and fired!