SandrasCastlesmwebClay it Forward is a community arts program that introduces participants to a medium they may not be familiar with: ceramics – and fosters an environment of exploration and giving.

Clay It Forward is the creation of Sandra Hodge an English teacher who for over 30 years has used her communication and literacy skills combined with the arts as a portal to engage learning. Clay it Forward was founded almost two years ago and is offered at over 25 events in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario and area.

A clay project can take up to 3 weeks from start to finish, Clay it Forward encapsulates all the stages of pottery making in an hour long event:

Stage 1: Take it – participants get to take and keep a clay keepsake that has been made at previous community events by others.

Stage 2: Make it – participants cut out a clay shape and decorate it with stamps and found items (for this project, we will “make” 2 items – 1 to be returned to the student before Christmas, the other to be sent out as a gift to another participant, elsewhere, after they are dried and fired.)

Stage 3: Glaze it – participants colour a bisqued piece with under glazes – these pieces will be fired and ready to be “taken” by someone else at another Clay it Forward event.

The program has several strengths:
it’s metaphoric: as the clay transforms through its stages and firings, so too, do we, through our various life experiences.
it’s educational: curriculum threads from all subject areas can be woven through the activity and used for future exploration.
it’s lasting: the students will “make their marks” in a near indestructible material that will “tell a story” hundreds of years from now.
it’s cooperative and fosters communication: students need to discuss the project, plan the execution and share the tools.
it’s fun; enough said!

We can incorporate any themes you’re currently working on, or we can make seasonal ornament/tiles.

Preparation is minimal:

If possible, cluster the students in groups of 4-6.
Cover work areas with newsprint or paper
Provide 4-6 small tubs (yogurt, margarine etc.) for rinsing brushes
Provide sturdy, shallow box for transporting projects (paper boxes work well)
Obtain permission for photographs to be taken and used for sharing and promotional purposes.