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Introduction to Clay Projects and Kiln Coordinators at Horace Mann

One of the great resources we have as part of the Art program at Horace Mann is our ability to do clay projects from start to finish. We are lucky enough to have a kiln right in our school to fire all sorts of projects from slabs to pinch pots and beyond!   

Working with clay is fantastic opportunity for students to explore their own creativity while contributing to their sensory development and problem solving skills. 

Our goal for our students is by the time our 5th graders graduate, each child will have the opportunity to experience each of the three major hand building techniques - slab, pinch, and coil - used in working with clay. As they progress through the different grades they will learn basic and advanced skills for each of these techniques.


Grade Level 

Suggested Projects for Hand Building Techniques  



Basic Projects



Slab: basic - rolling and cutting an outline, drape/press onto 3-D shape, add texture

Projects - slab bowl, slab trivet


First grade 

Pinch Pot: basic - hand form a bowl;

Project - pinch pot bowl


Second grade 

Coil pot: basic - join and smooth coils on a slab base to make a small pot

Project - coil pot



Advanced Projects


Third grade  

Pinch Pot: advanced - add decorations and/or handles, experiment with shapes

Projects - pinch pot monsters, pinch pot animals


Fourth grade  

Slab: advanced - add texture, cutouts, form cylinders, add attachments

Project - slab mugs, slab candle holders, slab leaf bowls


Fifth grade  

Slab, Pinch, and/or Coil: advanced – all of the above! 

Projects - Get creative! Pinch pot gnomes

Wrangling clay projects is a group effort. Docents will work with kiln coordinators and other docents to take their projects from initial idea all the way through firing and glazing the finished pieces. 

The basic steps to completing a clay project: 

  • Choose a project and check the necessary supplies and tools 
  • Sign up on Project Log on kiln cage door 
  • Sign up for the art room (ask your teacher) 
  • On the scheduled day, teach and create your clay projects as a class 
  • Allow at least a week for the project to dry 
  • Communicate with kiln coordinator about bisque firing 
  • Plan glazing session (usually this can be done as a side project in small groups during another art lesson)
  • After glaze is applied, communicate with kiln coordinator about glaze firing 

The key to the kiln is kept in the office with Mrs. Glassey. Please remember to return it each time. Allow plenty of time for set-up and clean up – at least ½ hour on either side of the lesson time.



Serving the families and staff of
Horace Mann Elementary
17001 N.E. 104th St.
Redmond, WA 98052
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