Lesson Objectives: Students create a pot or vessel using clay coils. Students gain more confidence and skill with the properties of clay, while developing an awareness of structural stability.

Artist: Africa, Nigeria, Bangboye of Odo Owa, Guggenheim Museum, Frank Lloyd Wright (available online)


Time Required:    
  Two sessions, 1 hour each

Materials, Session 1:                                            


Brown paper bag placemats                                 

Small cups or lids of water                                   

Rolling pins

Clay tools

4” circle templates 

Materials (Session 2):



Dixie cups


      Discuss the coil and scoring techniques. Discuss form.

Procedure, Session 1:

  1. Students will roll out a slab of clay and use the circle template to cut out the base.  Using the excess clay from the slab, cut out about 5 small circles, no larger than a quarter.
  2. Students should sign the bottom of the slab before beginning their coils just in case the pot isn’t stable enough to flip over to sign after completion.
  3. Begin by making the first coil about 14” long.  Join the coil using the scoring technique. Make hatch marks horizontally /// and vertically to make tic tac toes ### on both the base and one side of the coil to be joined. Wet both surfaces with water and join together. Pinch off excess coil and join the beginning and the end to make a ring.
  4. Continue making coils, and joining them onto each other, building a wall.
  5. After the second ring, students can begin adding the dots, joining them the same way.  The next coil will follow the path of the previous coil, but will surround the dot, creating a bump.
  6. Try to add dots evenly around the pot, creating multiple bumps along the rim.
  7. Continue building the pot with coils and dots until desired height.  If possible, check initials to be sure they are still visible.
  8. Let dry 14 days and bisque fire in the kiln.

Procedure, Session 2:

  1. Allow each student to choose one or two colors of glaze to paint their pot.
  2. Remind the students that glaze should only go where the eye can see without lifting the pot.  While painting, rotate the pot by turning the placemat.
  3. If necessary, use stilts in kiln to prevent glaze from coming into contact with the kiln shelves.
  4. Let dry overnight and glaze fire in the kiln.