I was initially quite nervous about teaching at the Ecole’s Intensiv Week, because I only knew the place through others’ (good) experiences, having never studied there myself; also, this time I was to be leading the classes, rather than being a teaching assistant.
Maria Maier (who interviewed me last year, and with whom I had been in correspondence since) was very keen to get stuck right in, as she already had some ceramic knowledge and wanted to expand her teaching vocabulary on it!
On Sunday we had discussed a tentative timetable for the week, and we had already discussed the project(s) that students could work on while I was to teach there.
In the morning break, we put together the timetable for the week (below).
I had brought along with me from Cardiff two large hardcover books which I had deemed suitable and instructive yet inspirational enough, and the students were happy to look through them for ideas, which they then sketched. I was surprised that the kids didn’t want to sketch for very long – they wanted to get their hands on the clay as soon as they could!
There were varying levels of previous contact with clay across the different year groups in the class (a total of 8 people aged between 13 and 19, not including myself and Maria). Some of the younger students had not had any contact with clay before, while others had built with coils and slabs before, and wanted to learn on the wheel, while others yet already had previous knowledge of throwing on the wheel, and wanted to get better acquainted with throwing.
I did a throwing demonstration for the students to watch, so that they had some context for their learning and to what I would be referring when I spoke about certain gestures or stages in the process. Later, I added a handle to the mug body.
All the kids bar one speak excellent English; I spoke German with that student.
I helped Christian to get the technique for making a coiled bowl; Lola was happy to work from a book illustrating how to sculpt a head in clay.
In the evening, I taught Christian on the wheel only in German! It was quite a lot of work in my mind, teaching and translating at the same time, but he was a model student: incredibly attentive and careful!
A couple of photos of the Pottery Room (below).