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toolkit, inexpensive, for kids classes

updated wed 16 aug 00


Stephani Stephenson on mon 14 aug 00

Many of the schools in this area are now providing 6-6 programs (6 am -

6 pm activities for students , i.e. after school enrichment
School districts contract much of these programs out. $2- $3 per child

ceramics art materials is not unusual.The cost of clay comes out of that

fee. The instructor is usually expected to provide the firing as well,
in their own kiln. Many times the classes are held outside in covered
areas with no sinks or water, so the instructor is expected to haul
water as well. Also there is usually no storage space so instructor must

haul everything back and forth and is paid only for the actual
instruction time.
I've also read where the move is to go to volunteers for such programs.

It is hard not to lose money everytime you step out the door to
teach in these programs.
I have found there are other teaching outlets, which give more
latitude to the instructor to set tuition and materials fees.
With regard to tools, My cheapo tool kit for kids classes consists of :

(For each student)

a dowel (use as a rolling pin, etc.,)
two 12" lengths of inexpensive wood lath ( good for slab rolling
thickness gauges, ruler, paddle. straight edge),
a pointy wooden craft stick,( a very useful tool, from a craft supply
house, looks like a pencil, but is all wood, works well as a cutter)
a 18 " X 12" piece of muslin,
popsicle sticks.

All the tools roll up into the muslin everyday, so they are easy to pack

and keep track of.

I bring plastic wrap , newspapers, cut up square sponges , masking
tape, margarine containers, etc. Also I always manage to scrounge some
extra thick squares of
cardboard to use as ware boards. . I collect old wooden spoons and the
like to use as interesting paddles. I also
bring a couple of wire cutters, but I keep a hold of those !

Stephani Stephenson
Leucadia CA
Alchemie Ceramic Studio

Cheryl L Litman on mon 14 aug 00

I buy packets of 100 wooden skewers at the $ stores and have the kids use
those for drawing on the clay. Some brands are stronger than others and
the kids have an easier time using the skewer as a pin tool for cutting
out designs from slabs. The knives are harder for them to manage.

I bought a pack of the largest bobby pins I could find and taped them to
popsicle sticks to use as loop tools. You can open the bottoms wider to
make various sizes. Opening up paper clips works as well.

I've been using old toothbrushes for scoring and slipping. Firmer ones
work better than softer ones.

I use sandpaper on popsicle sticks reshape them.

We make our own stamps in bisqued clay and use all kinds of found objects
for texturing.

I visit my local lumber yard frequently and picked up dowels and molding
at various times. The dowels are good rolling pins. I've also used
cores from paper goods, not sure what they came from but they were strong
and thick - not wimpy like paper towel cores.

Lisa, your inner city budget is generous compared to a friend teaching
full time in Trenton NJ who gets $1 per year per kid.

Lee Love on tue 15 aug 00

----- Original Message -----
From: Cheryl L Litman

> I buy packets of 100 wooden skewers at the $ stores and have the kids use
> those for drawing on the clay.

Back in St. Paul, I used these to make Toombo (measuring gauges for
pots.) You just cut to length and width (leaving a little extra as a
handle at the top) and use a bread tie to hold them together.

Here in Japan in the country, bamboo is plentiful so I don't have to
use the skewers.

Lee Love
Nanai , Mashiko-machi ,Tochigi-ken 321-4106 JAPAN
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