Logo of Babaji Vidhyashram CBSE school in Chennai, with CBSE affiliation number.
An interaction between potter and participants during pottery making workshop conducted at Babaji Vidhayasharam

Pottery and design thinking process

Posted on: June 2, 2021
Author: BVS Team

Clay must feel happy in the good potter's hand.”-Janet Fitch

When the school informed me about the workshop on Pottery, what I had in mind was “I am going to learn to use Pottery wheels and make pots”.After attending the workshop, I understood that learning about Pottery is much more than what I imagined. I would like to  share my experience and learning here.

A specialist in this field , Mr.Ravichandran conducted the workshop and  demonstrated several techniques in clay modelling starting with the mixing of the materials needed , wedging, pinching, throwing  and using the pottery wheel. The teachers including me were enthralled by this new activity and enthusiastically furthered their knowledge and skills through independent research and practice.

We have to first understand clay to use them. Clay particles are flat and tiny. Earthenware clay,  Stoneware clay and Porcelain clay are different types of clay. Clay holds the shape given by the potter. It can be pinched, rolled, cut and built up in layers to form different shapes.

Clay is used to make shapes with both Hand building and Wheel based techniques. Wedging and Kneading of Clay is the first step in the process of making shapes. Hand building techniques are Pinch pottery, Coil pottery and Slab techniques. Wheel based techniques involve throwing, centering and making shapes. We followed the Design Thinking Process of Empathize -> Define -> Ideate -> Prototype -> Test to learn the above techniques.

Close up shot of a hand preparing pot on clay pot making wheel.

The first experience in trying the above techniques cannot be explained with words, one has to experience it to understand. My first work with Pottery wheel did not meet the expectations, later I gained confidence, when my first bowl was made after practicing. Now looking at the Pot made with clay, I will understand how much work and effort is involved in getting the output.

The learning and practicing of the above techniques involves not only Art and Creativity but Science and Mathematics as well. The understanding of materials included in clay with Science and involvement of Math in planning and execution of symmetrical designs is amazing and students will be able to understand the various concepts learned during their other classes while Pottery making.

Now I understand, Pottery is an important skill which has multiple benefits for students to improve,

  • Creativity
  • Solve problem
  • Motor skills
  • Sensory development

It also improves their

  • Self esteem
  • Self identification
  • Self expression
  • Self confidence

Learning Pottery has given me a type of experience that will have  a lasting impression. Working with clay calms and relaxes our minds. It will help students to learn concepts without losing their concept of  fun. As a teacher, when I can have so much fun in learning I can’t wait to see its impact on our students! They will also be thrilled with all the additions to the Design Thinking lab at our school in Chennai l -the electric pottery wheels, the sewing machines, the ceramic kiln, weaving looms, etc.

I’m sure it’s going to be an exciting experience for the students!

For those who are interested to read more about the history of pottery making please check it out here

“You’d smile too, if you have an experience with Pottery”

Finished pottery products such as bowl, water pot displayed.

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We believe that learning can be inspired by almost anything and everything around children. Nature, people, colors, technology are all a part of this learning and we bring this holistic & refreshing approach into our classrooms.
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