Sunday, April 19, 2015

Fabulous Face Jugs!


One of my favorite clay projects to teach to my fifth grade students is this one! Face Jugs have a fascinating history tied to the days of slavery and the Civil War, which they study in the middle grades. I first learned about Face Jugs on a visit to the Mint Museum in Charlotte, North Carolina, several years ago. This regional art museum was hosting an exhibit of face jugs, some found at historic sites and on loan from collectors, and others created by contemporary artists living and working in the Carolinas. I immediately knew that this would make a great cross-curricular project and have done it ever since! In past years, we painted with acrylics, but this year I was fortunate enough to have the funds for glaze...yay!

Alien Face Jug

Love this fierce Face Jug!

Sometimes they get a bit silly!

Kitty Jug's whiskers are bits of leather lacing, hot glued after firing.

Although our face jugs have a contemporary twist, the students enjoyed learning about the history of this craft from the following sites before designing and creating their own art work. 

Jim McDowell is a North Carolina potter who is carrying on the tradition in honor of his ancestors, who survived, or did not survive, the Middle Passage, a journey that led to a life of slavery for so many.

The Kuehn Pottery website features the work of potter Karl Kuehn. His site includes YouTube videos showing him at work creating his face jugs and other ceramic pieces. It also includes a link to a PBS video detailing the history of face jugs and the Middle Passage, which my students found very interesting. 

Although the glaze was a little thin, this little Fish Face Jug is so cute! 

 Up next, I'll be posting ceramic work from my sixth grade students, who have been studying ancient Greece. Our Greek urns are almost ready for their debut!

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