Second and fourth grade students at West Harrion’s Samuel J. Preston Elementary School watched in amazement as ceramic arts expert Cliff Mendelson dragged his paintbrush around the surface of a still wet, just-formed c l a y b ow l . M e n d e l s o n ’s workshop, “A Day in Clay,” took place from April 6-7 at Preston Elementary’s art room, with the focus of the lesson on creating handmade architectural tiles using the symbols, imagery, textures and patterns of Native American descent. Each student was responsible for design- ing their own tile, which will hang in the school indefinitely.
Students were given the opportunity to decorate the entranceway of their school with clay tiles, under the instruction of Mendelson, that will remain there permanently thanks to a $2,000 grant bestowed upon t h e school by the Harrison Education Foundation.
“I was thrilled to help these children explore the many techniques of clay,” said Mendelson. “I hope that by mixing the art of clay with the techniques used by Native Americans, this hands-on workshop will reinforce traditional classroom teachings. An instructional/hands-on session allows all the students to experience some aspects of working with clay.”
Students were introduced to all phases of ceramic work, including rolling clay and forming pottery on the wheel. The children were awestruck by the careful painting techniques employed by Mendel- son as the ceramic bowl he had just created spun around the wheel . M e n d e l s o n ’s workshop also included a study of hand-painting techniques and a historical view of pottery and ceramic paint- ing as a mode for story telling.
“The children absolutely loved the workshop, they were in awe,” said Kim Kilcoyne, art teacher a t S a m u e l J . Preston Elementary School. “They’re excited that their pieces will be permanently