Frequently Asked Questions Answered by The Clay Teacher

Q.Do I need to hire someone to teach a clay project?
A. No! Clay projects are simple to make and instruction is well within the capabilities of most adults. The Clay Teacher® brings the clay studio to your classroom or school through video instruction. Complete details of every step just like having Mrs. Clay there but with no cost!. No arranging transportation or other field trip concerns. Use your field trip funds for real field trips!

Q. Who will instruct at the workshop?
A. You, an arts teacher or some of your parent volunteers can instruct. Cindy Clarke is The Clay Teacher. Cindy is, and has been for over forty years, a clay worker and clay teacher. Jim has worked in clay for 20 years. We can answer any special questions you might have by email or toll free phone at 1-855-218-9974. Arrange a Skype Q&A session for a small fee.

Q. What does it cost?
A. Simply put nothing! Of course you will need to purchase clay. The clay we use is "Buffstone" from Plainsman Clays. A 20 kg box (more than enough for most class projects) will cost you around $20. Finishing once your projects dry is a matter of painting all over with inexpensive acrylic paint and then sealing with a paint on seal coat (We use DecoArt Triple Thick thinned with 30% water available at most craft stores or online.)or spraying with Krylon® low odour gloss sealer.

Don't be mislead! Clay projects do not need to be kiln fired to create a durable finished project as thousands of students can attest. (We have instructed over 20 000 students in making air dry projects and many teachers have used this method for four years!) Remember, we are not making "pottery" we are making sculptures. Pottery for kitchen use has to be both bisque and glaze fired. While we do that in our studio it is not necessary for a school clay project. The Alberta School Curriculum guides recommend using clay as an art medium and learning to form, shape, and join clay. (Firing and glazing is suggested as a finishing step for grades three and up as part of a process and experience if your school has access to a kiln. Sending the projects away to be fired does not address the intent as there is no hands on experience gained once the projects leave your school.)

Here's what The Clay teacher has to say!

Q. Does your instruction allow for different aptitudes and creativity?
A. Yes. All projects are hand built by the students. From conception to the final detail, students apply their own creativity.

Q. Is basic curriculum covered?
A.Elementary projects are designed for various components of the curriculum from K - 6 with all of them delivering the basic methods required by the Alberta Elementary Art Program of Study. Special projects are always available by request, and junior high and high school curriculum subjects can be demonstrated and discussed as well. Please phone us at 1-855-218-9974 with your requests and questions. We can put together video instruction for any project.

Q. Is my classroom suitable for instruction?
A.It can be, but if more than one class instruction is being done at your school on the same day ,it is much more efficient to use the same room for all classes. During the class desk tops will get clay on them. Clay is just mud. Volunteers can wipe the desks clean following the class. A flat surface for the completed projects to wait for painting will be required in the case of air dry projects.

Q. What preparation is required?
A. A room with enough tables and chairs for all students, name tags to assist with communication, a sink or bucket of water, and a few volunteers. A smart board or large screen television connected to the internet for YouTube® access or a DVD player for DVD instruction. If you want to set up a Skype session please phone 1-855-218-9974 and we will do our best to accomodate you. 15 to 30 minutes of Skype conference will be billed to your school @ $50 per session.

Q. Do I need parent volunteers or assistance?
A. Yes, it is preferred for the younger students (under grade three.). Parent help aids with time issues, as well as allowing more actual instruction time from The Clay Teacher. The older children do not typically require as much assistance, but parents and volunteers are always welcome!.

Q. How long does a class last?
A. Usually 90 minutes although some projects and class groups may require a longer period. Some projects are adaptable to shorter time frames. The great thing about doing it yourself with video instruction is the ability to fit the projects into your time schedule. Need more time or another day? No problem! Cover the projects well with plastic (garbage bags work great) and continue from where you left off the previous time.

Q. What projects are available? Can I request my own?
A. Project offerings will change and/or increase annually, depending on the department of education's curriculum focus or the project's popularity. Various projects are available to accommodate most special occasions such as Mothers Day, Fathers Day, Christmas, Halloween, Family Day, etc. You can see examples of some of the most popular projects here. Video content is being added constantly. Of course you may request a special project and The Clay Teacher will design one to suit your request. Please allow 4 to 6 weeks for a video project to be completed once you request it. It will be posted on our YouTube channel and available to you on DVD for $20.

Q. What happens to the projects after the class is completed?
A.The projects are left in the classroom or designated space until they are ready to paint and complete (usually about a week).

Q. When and how do you get paid?
A. A copy of the invoice will be emailed to you and a copy included with your purchase. The cheque can be mailed to the indicated address. We also accept Visa® , MasterCard®, and American Express®.

Q. Are there special instructions for painting and finishing?
A. Yes. Detailed finishing instructions are available for download. The Clay Teacher is always available to answer any questions by email or by phone toll free at 1-855-218-9974.