Earth, Fire, Dead Leaves and Mud!

Pupils in Years 1 and Year 2 who attend Tuesday afternoon Out-Of-The-Box club enjoyed opportunities to discover and explore the natural world outside with fellow explorers – Mrs Hulbert and Miss Rooks.

The children have been getting used to using their eyes and enjoying the abundance of seeds and fruits around the school grounds. The colours during the autumn were a joy. As winter set in, the children threw off their wellies and moved indoors to capture that autumn glory using mud, in the form of clay, and impressions of the shed leaves to capture the patterns and colours they witnessed outdoors. The pupils transformed into ceramic artists!

As part of the  Oak-Tree Group, it seemed a good idea to select oak leaves to decorate small plates. Coopersale Hall is fortunate to own a kiln so the pupils used real potters’ clay to form plates, using saucers as moulds. Clay is an ancient, natural and very versatile material and the children really enjoyed handling it. Before the raw clay was fired by our equally versatile Eddie, wearing his Ceramic Technician hat, Mrs Hulbert applied copper oxide to emphasise the natural patterns of the leaf structures.

Once fired, that pliable clay became durable ceramic. In a further lesson, the pupils carefully selected glazes in autumn colours to paint the leaves and lastly to surround each leaf with a contrasting colour. Each plate had a shiny clear glaze applied before Eddie whisked them away to the kiln for their final firing.

Although all our work survived the firing, there was a problem with the glazes, which is a hazard potters face, and it was only a partial success – but the children enjoyed the process anyway and were very proud of their unique and priceless works of art!

What a fantastic way to not only explore the different seasons, but also use a range of techniques to create some beautiful plates.