Ceramics - Beginning through Advanced with Mr. Jamin Zegart
Two hundred students a day come through the ceramics classroom at George Washington High School. The classes are diverse, beginning and advanced students, freshmen (very few) to seniors. The student’s work on a variety of projects simultaneously, some advanced students working on the wheel, a few handbuilding. The beginning students follow a syllabus with handbuilding projects before taking on the wheel. If a beginning student shows a great desire to throw, and are up to date on projects, I encourage them. The studio is open at lunch and after school most days of the week.
The atmosphere in the classroom is a warm, bustling mix of working, movement, music, and talking. I encourage students to not only focus on their work, but to enjoy working. The students are the teachers also, and I purposefully have the advanced students help in each class by modeling their skills and mentoring others with projects and skills they’ve already mastered.
Constructive criticism is key. If a mistake is made by a student I will stop the class and use this as a learning moment. If a beautiful piece of ceramics, skill, or technique is achieved, I will highlight these as well.
We are now making large collaboration coil pots that all students in every class are working on. Four students per table over five periods a day are helping create beautiful pots that will be given to the school in a beautification endeavor.
We hope these can be entered in the Young At Art Festival with salt and pepper shakers in May. In the meantime, we are glazing all the new and old pots, so we can make a fresh start with new clay, new and time-tested ideas and methods, and good old fashioned hard work.