By: Alyssa Freeman, Read to Succeed Summer Program Intern
Looking for fun, creative, and artistic activities to do as a family? Why not give pottery a try? Creating ceramics not only teaches important lessons about history and culture, but it's a seriously fun activity with a beautiful end result that can be put on display, shared as a gift, donated, used at home, you name it!
Check out these five wonderful children's books all about creating with clay followed by five pottery-inspired family activities to go with them.
5 Pottery Themed Books
"Many Shapes of Clay: A Story of Healing" written and illustrated by Kenesha Sneed
This book is filled with social-emotional lessons and dives into the idea of finding yourself through creativity. "Many Shapes of Clay" addresses the topic of grief and how to find beautiful things through it. The main character discovers that healing can be a creative process.
Check out this free read aloud of "Many Shapes of Clay" here!
"When Clay Sings" written by Byrd Baylor and illustrated by Tom Bahti
A beautiful poetic book that highlights Native American pottery design, "When Clay Sings" shows how you can find inspiration in anything. This book features wonderful illustrations and is an amazing book to read to your kids.
Check out this free read aloud of "When Clay Sings" here!
"The Magic of Clay" written and illustrated by Adalucía
"The Magic of Clay" is a stunning non-fiction book with tons of facts about clay–from clay's chemical makeup to the process of making it into pottery pieces. A lovely book for any future ceramic artists in the making!
"The Pot That Juan Built" by Nancy Andrews-Goebel
"The Pot That Juan Built" is an ingeniously crafted story about premier Mexican potter, Juan Quezada. Using rhyme and rich illustrations, the author tells the story of the materials and methods Juan used to build and paint his beautiful pot.
Check out this free read aloud of "The Pot That Juan Built" here!
"Shaped By Her Hands: Potter Maria Martinez" by Anna Harber Freeman & Barbara Gonzales and illustrated by Aphelandra
A compelling story about renowned Native American potter Maria Martinez, "Shaped By Her Hands" embraces themes of family, creativity, and persistence. Maria developed a brand new firing technique that transformed the field for clay artists.
Check out this free read aloud of "Shaped By Her Hands" here!
5 Pottery-Inspired Family Activities
Looking for a fun way to start creating with your family? Check out these five fun ideas, and leave a comment with any other ceramics-inspired family activities you love!
1. Visit your local pottery place!
Hands-on pottery studios are a fun, hands-on way to spend time together as a family! Swing by Asheville arts staple “Fired Up!” to paint your own pottery to go or swing by “Claying Around LLC” or “Batton Clayworks” for art-infused clay sculpting activities.
2. Make your own clay at home
Visit familyeducation.com to learn how to make clay at home with your kiddos! Family Education offers recipes for several varieties of clay and walks you through the process step by step. You can also find several YouTube videos on how to make clay from dirt.
3. Visit a local craft fair
Enjoy a day out in your community with your family exploring pottery and ceramics products made by local creatives and makers. Some great craft fairs around Asheville and Buncombe County include Come to Leicester, Big Crafty, and Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands.
4. Bring a clay set home
Discover fun easy-to-use clay sets for kids at big box vendors like Walmart or Amazon. Not only is modeling clay great for using imagination and fine motor skills, but kids can also practice reading and math with clay. For example, you can encourage kids to create letters of the alphabet with clay, say their sounds, and blend them together into a word.
5. Take a pottery class
Discover how to make pottery and ceramics on your own or with your kids via local classes. Check out Village Potters for classes, workshops, and advanced studies, Batton Clayworks, or Odyssey ClayWorks to get started in Western North Carolina.
A very special thanks to Read to Succeed sponsor, Table for Two Pottery!
This month we recognize Table for Two Pottery, a long-time supporter of the literacy mission of Read to Succeed.
On August 20-21, 2022 you can find Table for Two among other artists at the Come to Leicester Artist Studio Tour.
For more information, visit www.cometoleicester.org
Read to Succeed Asheville/Buncombe (R2S) is a local, independent nonprofit on a mission to help close the