Please Don't Eat the Artwork


Summer Clay Camp (Week One)


For the past several summers, I have been an instructor for clay camp at Johns Creek Arts Center. I love seeing kids come back every summer and my experience there has strengthened me as an educator. JCAC is a great place, I even went to camps and classes there as a kid! Clay Camp is of course the most popular option and there is even a mile-long waiting list to get a spot. This year’s theme is “Art Rocks” so all of the projects are centered around music. For 5 days, kids get to create clay artwork and at the end of the week there is an art show for all the parents to come and see the masterpieces.

We made clay maracas by attaching two pinch pots and filling them with little clay balls. Its important to cover the clay balls with flour or cornstarch so they don’t stick to the sides of the maraca. After it is fired in the kiln, you can shake it up!


Paddling the pinch pots into shape:


Carving details:


Glazed maracas:

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Campers also created rock star shoes. This project was a huge hit. I might do this with my students next year, perhaps in conjunction with a contour line shoe drawing. We began with sole-shaped slabs.


Kids used slabs and coils to build up their form:

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We put crumpled up newspaper inside so the shoes would hold their shape. Here they are drying on a cart:


Glazed shoes:

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Another fun project was the CD Cover. I was inspired for this project by this lesson. I got to make one of these when I attended the GAEA conference a couple of years ago and I was very impressed by the technique. To begin, students created a sketch of a CD Cover.


If they included letters or words, they used light from a window to draw their design on the back of the paper (so the letters wouldn’t be backwards)


Then, they traced over their design with water based markers.


On a smooth slab of clay the drawing is placed face down. Campers used wooden ribs to gently press and rub.


When you peel back the paper, the marker transfers the design onto the clay. This got a lot of “ooohs” and “aaaaahs” during the process.


Campers went back in with a stylus tool to carve their designs. This technique works best with clay that has been dried out a bit, even to the point of being leather hard.


The CD Covers were completed using acrylic paint:


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The Rockstar Fish Box was another fun project. Like the shoe, we began with a slab:


Using coils, campers built up the sides of the box:

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Another slab was decorated to create the top. Here are some drying in the sun:


The faces made these really whimsical and silly!

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We did a few other projects but I will save those for next time. I will instructing 2 more weeks of clay camp in July and I will be sure to post more pictures and projects.

In the meantime, here are some pictures from the week. . . .

Tools, stamps, and knick-knacks:


The kiln room:


Glazes and testers:


Acrylic paint palettes:


Painted projects drying on a cart:


Glazed artwork ready for the kiln:


Bisqued projects ready to be painted/glazed:


A happy art teacher:


Clay camp is so much fun and such a great way to fill up a few weeks during the summer. 🙂

Author: artwithmsk

Hello! My name is Ms. Katzin and I am an art teacher at an elementary school near Atlanta, Georgia. Teaching art is my passion and I love what I do!

7 thoughts on “Summer Clay Camp (Week One)

  1. You can totally tell that people pay for their kids to be there – there are so many materials available for you to use! I love the clay creations, that’s really where your talent shines. And holy cow. That picture is absolutely adorbz and you look incredible. If it wasn’t creepy to have a pic of just you, I’d print it out and hang it in my room.

  2. What an awesome art camp!! You really infuse a lot of creativity into your students’ art projects–I would have loved to participate myself! I can imagine students’ surprise at seeing the transferred print onto the clay. What a unique experience: and I love the process steps taken to make the shoes and the plaques. Are those painted clocks drying on the cart? So cute!

    • Thanks! Yes they are painted clocks and in July I will be posting about them. So many adults ask if there is a “grown-up clay camp” — it is such a fun experience! 🙂

  3. fun to be able to work on just clay!!! And the kilns…the beautiful kilns!!! 🙂 Love that space!!!

    • Working on just clay is the best! The kids are SO EXCITED to do clay for 5 days in a row its like a dream come true. The space is indeed wonderful, I am lucky to be a part of such a great experience at the art center 🙂

  4. Pingback: Clay Shoes | Art With Ms. K

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