Clay sculpting workshop with the Creative Arts Club

“No dunking or dipping or throwing it at someone else. Got it?” Alexander Lisman jokingly said, laying down the ground rules at Thursday’s clay sculpting workshop. The workshop was put on by the Creative Arts Club and was open to all staff and students who reserved a spot.

Lisman is a recent graduate from the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design in Denver. He graduated with a degree in fine arts with an emphasis on sculpture as well as an art education degree. “I work a lot with bronze sculpture,” Lisman told Creative Art Club members. Lisman also instructs after-school art programs for kindergarten through high school students and was excited to be working with Mines students.

Lisman presented a teapot slideshow to begin his lecture. The three main styles included European, Middle Eastern/Arabian, and Asian/Japanese. Each style has distinctive characteristics such as placement of the handle or spout that make it unique.

The workshop continued with Lisman teaching attendees various techniques for sculpting. For some, this was their first experience working with clay. He presented two methods, the slab method and the coil method. Regardless of which strategy was chosen, clay sculpture proved to be a more challenging endeavor than one would have originally thought.

Starting with a sturdy base is the first step to making a teapot. It can be any shape, but the clay must be at least 1/4-inch thick. From there, walls are built up using either the coil method or the slab method. Making hatch marks and wetting the sides of two pieces allow separate pieces to be attached. Lisman told his students to pretend they are “milking a cow” to create a teapot handle. By pulling down repeatedly and slowly on a piece of clay with wet hands, and handle can be made.

The pots created Thursday night will be allowed to dry for several weeks and then fired in a kiln to harden. After they are fired, Creative Arts Club members will return to glaze, or paint, their creations.

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