Lesson #2: Making a Pinch Pot

Part of the unit: Discoveries in Clay |


How can I make a pot out of clay?
Students will be able to:
Create a simple pot using the pinch-pot method.
Use art vocabulary to describe the techniques they used.
Students will understand:
How clay is transformed from a soft material to a hard material.
Clay (a 2.5" x 2.5" piece for each student), work surfaces, sharpie markers, one quart-sized ziplock bag per student.
Test pieces from lesson 1 List of actions from lesson 1 Examples of simple pots of different shapes (straight-sided, rounded, tapered, etc.) Images of ceramic artists handbuilding pots.
  • What happened to the clay we left out of the bag at the end of lesson 1?
  • How is it different from the clay that was stored in the plastic bag? It's hard and smaller because it has lost moisture. Evaporation! Help students make this connection.
  • Where does the moisture go?
  • Did it leave all at once or gradually? Invite students to pay attention to how the clay feels as they work with it during this lesson. What happens as it gradually looses moisture?
Roll clay into a ball. Place thumb in the center of the ball and push down until thumb is within a 1/2" of the bottom. Pinch and turn, with thumb pressing on the inside of the ball and index and middle finger countering the force on the ouside. Work around in a spiral, pushing the clay up and thinning the walls of the pot until it is the desired height and thickness.
Students will create pinch pots using the technique described in the demonstration. Some students may need help getting the process started--forming the piece of clay into a ball and pushing their thumbs into the ball to make a well.   Sudents should write their names on quart-sized ziplock bags and place their finished pots securely inside. The teacher should verify that bags are zipped so that clay pots do not dry out. Students will need pots to be maleable so they can add texture to their work during lesson 3.
  • What was the most difficult part of making your pinch pot?
  • What strategies did you discover that helped you succeed?
  • What changes do you still need to make on your pot?
Explain that in the next class they will be adding animal patterns or textures to their pots. (See assignment)
The teacher should read When Clay Sings to the students before the next lesson. Students should search museum websites for examples of animal sculpture. Each student should print out their favorite sculpture and bring it to the next lesson.