Monday, May 23, 2011

Face jugs, 5th grade

Face jugs are a great way to learn different ways of manipulating clay and also a great tie-in to Georgia history.  We start this lesson with a little history of face jugs, from their origination in Africa to the folk potters in the North Georgia mountains all the way to modern, current potters with more stylized faces.  After looking at all the examples, students can select an "ugly jug" style, a stylized or celebrity face, or an animal face.  Here's the step-by-step:

We begin by joining two pinch pots, then opening a hole at the top and carving away some parts

We add coils and small slabs for the features, always remembering to score, slip, and seal

Some added spouts and handles

this set is drying in the clay closet, waiting for the first firing

These pots have been fired in the kiln once and are ready for glazing


  1. So funny you posted this today! My 5th graders just asked me if we could make face jugs today. I said "Didn't we make them in 4th grade?" They said "Can we do it again though?" It is definitely a big hit!

    They are looking great.

  2. yes, it's definitely been a 5th grade tradition for over a decade in my classroom - i always save it until the end of the year because it's a great way to "bribe" the kids for good behavior ;)

  3. How long is your class period? I usually just make "face jugs" with 4th in one class period using only one pinch pot, but using two looks better... I only see them for 35 minutes though, and I just don't know if I could do all of that in one class period. Storing them for a week isn't going to happen either, as I have 6 4th grade classes.

    1. Hi - my classes are 45 minutes and it takes one period to make/join the two pots and another session to add the face/handles. It does take a lot of storage space to keep the clay damp during the waiting period.


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