The Clay Teacher is from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Here I talk about being The Clay Teacher, my life as a teacher and a potter. I talk about our business, family, friends and the teachers and students we meet. I show my and their work. We are passionate about getting clay in the hands of as many kids as we can.
Our websites are theclayteacher.com, funclayprojects.com, outofthefirestudio.com, and howtomakepottery.com
2009 was a good year for the Clay Teacher. We set it up and we took off. It was a busy November and December. I met some great people, worked with some wonderful kids and had a blast. January has taken a bit of a turn. Not for the teaching end of The Clay Teacher, but the people I used to work for have just found out about the Clay Teacher, seven months later, and now they want us to shut it down because they are intimidated by a little bit of healthy competition. I have always thought a little competition keeps us all on our toes. I am only one clay teacher in the sea of hundreds of class rooms. We have different ways of teaching. We target different groups of people. The projects offered in the elementary schools mirrors the curriculum. They didn’t invent pinch pots, coil pots or masks. They didn’t invent sculpting little people out of clay. People have been working with clay since we have been people. One of the first things found made from clay was a woman and it was sculpted about 28,000 years ago.
I was an instructor and potter before I signed on with them during and now after. I have been a pottery teacher since I was eighteen years old. I started working with kids in the schools when my children were small. They are now 20 and 18. I would bring clay into the class, direct the kids on how to make the project, fire them and return them. I used to feel like the Pied Piper. I would always come at recess so I could set up. I drove this huge Dodge van back then and the kids knew my vehicle. As I got close to the school, they would see my van, know who I was and what I was bringing. Half the play ground of children would be running behind me laughing and screaming as I drove me into the parking lot. I was a teacher’s aide. I often would bring clay into my classes, show the kids how make little projects, take them home, fire them and return them. I have taught as a private contractor for over thirty years. First in Dawson Creek, BC, then in Edson AB, and here in the city, first in my studio a few years ago then for the City of Edmonton and then for my last employer.
Yesterday we received a letter telling us to stop The Clay Teacher, remove our website and email address. We said no. We have don’t want to fight with these people; we just want to do the job. There is plenty of work for all of us.