Art History Now | Greek Pottery Workshops with Blind Brook High School

In early December, nearly 50 Blind Brook High School students joined us in our classroom for a hands-on component to their interdisciplinary course, Shapers of the World, taught by Paige Buonocore (Studio Art and Art History), Jon Ambrosio (English), and Kaitlin Lazare (Music).  The class explores the origins and evolution of great works of literature, philosophy, art, and music, ranging from Greco-Roman civilizations to British and modern works. Each unit is studied with regards to the historical context in which it was developed as well as the values and political realities that shaped each society and influenced artistic expression.

Clay Art Center was thrilled to collaborate with Blind Brook High School teachers to provide an opportunity for curriculum integration and to enhance learning through the arts. The unit on Greek Pottery was a natural fit for both parties as it allowed the students to explore the materials, and ceramic processes used throughout the ages. In the 3-hour workshop students were led through demonstrations by teaching artist Vicky Youngman, and built their own coiled vessel. Using the provided templates students created a facade of a Greek vase or Amphora on a leather-hard slab, which was attached to the coiled vessel after surface decoration was applied. Working on red clay and utilizing white and black slips, the students painted in either blocks or patterns and then began the process of sgraffito, to reveal the rich, red terra cotta below. The students recalled the patterning and symbols used in the Greek pots they studied, and these element are echoed in their designs. A large majority of the workshop was dedicated to surface decoration, an aspect that the students were very engaged in and the results of which are both creative and successful!

As educators, we strive to help our students make connections to the past present and future. A hands-on experience is an excellent way to build these connections for students of all ages, a view that Studio Art and Art History teacher, Paige Buonocore shares:

"My role is to foster an appreciation for the past artists as well as media.  What better way than to experience it yourself?  That's where the Clay Art Center comes in.  Students were fortunate to experience, first hand, how to build a Greek vessel and design it appropriately according to their art history knowledge of Greek pottery and period designs."

We look forward to continuing our annual workshops for Blind Brook High School and hope for the opportunity to collaborate with other local schools in the New Year.  




Kelly O'SullivanComment