Research pottery from a variety of cultures and create posters for a classroom display.
Read The Pot That Juan Built by Nancy Andrews-Coebel and find out about the process of making a clay pot in Mata Ortiz, Mexico, or view examples of pottery from Mata Ortiz online. Create a KWL chart (what we Know, what we Want to know, what we have Learned). What do you know about the Mexican culture? What do you know about the Mata Ortiz? What would you like to know about Mexico and the Mata Ortiz? Then create a pot in Mata Ortiz style and add what you have learned to your chart.
Directions for making the pot:
Start with about 1-1/2 pounds of clay and wedge it to get rid of any air bubbles.
Pound out a “tortilla” using part of the clay. This will be the bottom of the pot.
Roll “chorizos” (long cylinders or “snakes”) from the clay using an even thickness. Coil these to build the walls of your pot.
Smooth out the coils using clay tools and by pinching and pulling the clay.
Fire the completed pot in a kiln.
When you get your fired pot back from the kiln, smooth it over using sandpaper. Then paint geometric designs on it using black and red acrylic paint or glaze (like the black manganese and red iron-oxide that Juan used in Nancy Andrews-Coebel’s book The Pot That Juan Built). In keeping with the style of the pots from Mata Ortiz, your designs should be painted freehand and spontaneously instead of being planned in advance.
From the earliest days of civilization, humans have been making ceramic vessels to store things in. The vessel, or pot, is the most basic ceramic form. It can be used functionally or as a vehicle for design, or both. Gold Calabash Bowl is an example of a functional piece of pottery. While it is not the type of pottery you would put in the microwave, it does function as a vessel that could hold decorative items. This piece could grace an end table or console table and be a distinctive design element in a home. Its beauty lies in its clean shape, its organic coloring, and its glaze texture, characteristics for which Frederick has become known.
About the Artist
Northern Kentucky native Sarah Frederick earned degrees from Mills College in Oakland, California, and the University of Louisville and has studied at the Massachusetts College of Art and the Haystack Mountain School. She retired from designing in early 1996 and is now producing a line of terracotta work with matte surfaces, airbrushed glazes, and intense color and pattern. Frederick’s work has been featured in exhibitions throughout the United States, including at the Museum of Contemporary Crafts in New York.