*Ring Ring….Ring Ring*
“Thank you for calling Bracker’s Good Earth Clays, this is Cindy, how can I help you?”
“Oh hi Cindy, I’m a teacher in [small town in the middle of America] and I’m new to teaching Ceramics. I don’t know where to start. Can you help me?”
Does this sound like you? Then you are in the right place. This post will jump start your semester. We’ve included extensive information on clay selection, the administrative information you need to navigate getting your materials and a lesson plan to get you started!
Please note: This series is designed with our local/area school teachers in mind. We primarily serve schools throughout Kansas, Nebraska, Southwest Iowa, Western Missouri, Northwestern Arkansas and pockets of Oklahoma & Illinois. Brand names that are specific to Bracker’s Good Earth Clays will be used. The information we are providing here is free and available for all schools. (If you use, copy or reprint this information, we only ask that you cite us as your source.) We strongly recommend finding your closest local supplier and building a relationship with that company.
Now, back to your classroom. First question….Do you have clay? That’s definitely the first thing you need to get for your classroom. So read on if you need help picking the right clay for your setting. If the last person in your position took care of this for you, then jump on down to the next section, Classroom checklist or use the menu below to go to whichever section you want!
Low Fire –
White clay –
Red clay –
Mid Fire –
Many upper level programs choose mid-fire clays for a variety of reasons. if you DON’T have a compelling reason, low fire might be your best choice. Many new potters find a stoneware clay easier and more forgiving for wheel-thrown work than the old talc-based low fire clays (but again, now that talc is gone, your young throwers may be just as successful with Chalk Rock or Terra Blanc). That said, Kansas Clay’s 5-10 Buff is our top selling clay for good reason. It’s also made in a recipe with just 9% grog called Buff Plus, which gives it additional strength and reduce shrinkage without significantly impacting throwing comfort. For mid-fire red clays, our top seller is the Red Brick Road. Rounding out our color options are Kansas Wheat, Smoky Hills and Bison for blonde, toasty brown and dark brown bodies, respectively. if you want something a little special for your top students, who may be applying for scholarships, you might consider the speckled bodies, Peppered Wheat, Red Cobblestone, or Coffee Grind. Students craving porcelain will appreciate our Winter Wind. We also sell an awful lot of Cone 5 BMix, and of course, as mentioned earlier, the Terra Blanc can be fired to Cone 6 as well. If you want a nice white clay with some speckling, you might like our Pyrate Freckle, or we have Laguna’s Speckled Bmix. Please do note, most schools are using buff or buff plus due to budgets. The other clays mentioned here are quite a bit more expensive and therefore less ideal/popular in schools.
High Fire –
Lesson Plan – Rotating Masks
This is our favorite quick start lesson plan for clay works with any age. Check out the 2 minute video below the set up instructions
You will need a large table with 4 to 5 workspaces – one for each student. Include 2-3# of clay, a sponge and some basic wooden handtools for each station, plus some shared tools in center of the table.
Instruction to your students is simply to use the clay to make a mask. You may decide whether to tell students in advance that they will be passing their masks or not.
After XX minutes, have your students all rotate down one mask. Now they each add something to the mask in front of them. Repeat the rotation until the students are back at their original mask.
Bonus ideas –
use this lesson to connect to geography/history/social studies by sharing masks from different regions/countries/time periods and include a discussion of the significance of the mask within different societies
Administrative Stuff you need to know
We ask that you please use our website to find pricing to fill out your requisition. If your district requires that you turn in a quote to get a purchase order, you can create an order here to use as a quote and we will hold that order until we receive your school PO. Please follow these simple instructions. If you have problems, check out this video walk through we created
- First log in or create an account with your school email address.
- Send us a quick email from this same email address to request tax exempt status
- Browse through the items in our webstore and add them to your cart. Multi-box clay discounts are automatically calculated
- On the cart page, enter your shipping details to get a quote for delivery, freight or small package (UPS or FedEx) shipment
- Edit your order to meet your budgetary needs if necessary
- Print your shopping cart page to turn in to your office OR, if you would like to give us a heads up about what you will be needing, go ahead and submit your order to us with “pay by purchase order” as the payment method. We’ll match it up with your district or school purchase order when it arrives.
- You can also leave us any notes in the comments section of checkout. 🙂
Hopefully this will help to speed up your process for getting prices on supplies. Currently, we have quite a backlog of orders that we are managing, and therefore have quite a delay in typing up quotes for regular supplies and materials.
If you need a quote for kilns, wheels, or other ceramic equipment for a bid, please contact us here to start that process