Woodland Middle School students create art by getting their hands dirty with ceramics

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Woodland’s middle school students get the opportunity to get their hands dirty while making beautiful artwork by participating in an after-school Pottery Club.

Nicole Caulfield, Woodland Middle School's Art Teacher, helps a student pick the right glaze for her artwork during the after-school Pottery Club.
Nicole Caulfield, Woodland Middle School's Art Teacher, helps a student pick the right glaze for her artwork during the after-school Pottery Club.

Nicole Caulfield, the Woodland Middle School’s art teacher, started offering pottery club in February so students could get more hands-on time with ceramics outside of class. Her inspiration for the club came after she found an old throwing wheel in storage. “I found the old wheel in the kiln room, and, thanks to the maintenance team, we were able to get it working,” she said. “The students took to the wheel right away, but, unfortunately, with only the one wheel, it’s very difficult for the kids to get a chance to throw their own pots so I decided to offer an after-school club for students who wanted more time with the wheel.”

Students like Maddison Wale (8th grader, pictured here) wanted more time with the throwing wheel and encouraged Ms. Caulfield to create the after-school club.
Students like Maddison Wale (8th grader, pictured here) wanted more time with the throwing wheel and encouraged Ms. Caulfield to create the after-school club.

The Pottery Club drew a large amount of interest from its very first day with 15-20 students attending every meeting to throw pots, make artwork from ceramic slabs, and get their hands into clay. Any student can attend the after-school club free-of-charge as all supplies and materials are provided at no cost to enable students from any background to learn how to create their own ceramic art.

Kanden Hendrickson, an eighth grader, started attending pottery club so he could experience working with clay. “I really like being able to make what I want, and I wanted to see what working with ceramics was like,” he explained. “I enjoy being able to build something in three-dimensions – getting it off-the-ground and into reality unlike drawing or painting.”

Kanden Hendrickson (8th grader) attends the club so he can create three-dimensional works of art.
Kanden Hendrickson (8th grader) attends the club so he can create three-dimensional works of art.

Maddison Wale, an eighth grader, became interested in ceramic art after seeing the pieces her older sister created on a throwing wheel and brought home. “I never worked with clay in art class here, I just decided to come to the club,” she said. “After-school clubs can be a huge relief – you get to learn more about the specific topics that interest you in a less time-restricted environment.”

Carson Kaml, an eighth grader, enjoyed taking art classes from Ms. Caulfield so coming to pottery club was a natural next step. “Ms. Caulfield is a great teacher – she guides the class and keeps us on-task but still makes everything exciting,” he said. “For me, I really enjoy the detail work in ceramics – I like adding fine details with the special tools we get to work with.”

Carson Kaml (8th grader) enjoyed Ms. Caulfields classes in school, so coming to an after-school pottery club was the perfect fit.
Carson Kaml (8th grader) enjoyed Ms. Caulfields classes in school, so coming to an after-school pottery club was the perfect fit.

Caulfield discovered her love for teaching by starting with adult workshops. For the past nine years, she’s served as Woodland Middle School’s art teacher. Caulfield enjoys teaching students to experience the creation of art first-hand. “I love teaching middle school because the students are so talented,” she said. “Making art encourages creativity and can often inspire students in ways they don’t expect!”

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