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Communing with Clay

It was 1998, and Margie Genrich had just been hired to teach ceramics at the high school in Tomah, WI. Even though Margie had been working in clay for over 15 years, she didn’t know how she would articulate that knowledge to students.

“It was at a fall Wisconsin Art Education Association Fall Conference where I came across a session being offered by Don Hunt, Adamah’s founder, that promised to teach anyone how to center in ‘5 minutes or less.’ After watching Don explain to a participant from the audience how to sit over the wheel and squeeze the clay,  freeze your body in position, lock the pressure, and lift your fingers,” sure enough, that guy had the clay centered without Don ever touching his hands. It was just amazing, and I thought I was going to spend a week learning from Don Hunt because he knows what he’s doing, so I signed up for his workshop “Communing with Clay.”

“That systematic approach continued throughout the whole week of my first workshop at Adamah. Don walked through things one step at a time, repeatedly, like a mantra, and his students would say it all the time, “squeeze, freeze, lock, and lift. That’s how you do it.”

“To be there with his students and see how they were succeeding was inspiring. It wasn’t just high school students; there were participants in their 80s and professional potters as well working right next to these teens. Everyone helped each other out, everyone shared and boundaries just melted away. That was the beginning of me teaching ceramics in high school. I am so thankful to Don,” Margie said.

“As a teacher, I learned the skill of articulating the process of working on the potter's wheel and gained the confidence that I could do it successfully. It helped me to see other students and teachers there and how they were interacting. To see the level they were performing at, I realized I needed to have higher expectations of my students. Anytime you can get out of your bubble and try something new helps you grow,” Margie reflected. “To any teacher interested in taking Communing with Clay I would just share that you will learn so much, you can bring your students to another level and there are all of these other activities that Horizons offers that provide growth opportunities for students of all ages.”

We are so excited to share that Communing with Clay will be returning to Adamah this coming summer. For any teacher looking to learn more about what Adamah can offer, we encourage you to enjoy a day of professional development by joining us for: Educator Immersion Experience: A Night of Connection and Discovery at Adamah Art Studios on April 11-12th. Registration will open on February 1, 2024 for this exciting opportunity.

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