• Still Life with Blue and White Porcelain

    Cristoforo Munari. Still Life with Blue and White Porcelain. Oil on canvas, 11 3/4 x 16 1/4 inches. Collection of the Nasher Museum of Art.

Clay Pinch Pots with Coils

Visual Arts


5: The Great Big World

2 45-minute lessons


What is clay?
Are there common household items used all over the world?

I can create with clay.
I can create a pinch pot with texture and added element.
I can recognize that an artist’s tools and media come from natural and human-made resources.
I can identify examples of functional objects of art in the immediate environment including home and school.

Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University

Day 1

Direct Instruction

Show students the artwork Still Life with Blue and White Porcelain, by Cristoforo Munari, c. 1690.

Discuss what is shown in the painting, ending with a focus on the bowls. Ask questions about the bowls:

  • What do they look like they are made of?
  • Why do you think that?
  • Have you seen bowls like this?
  • When and where?

Show pictures of bowls from different countries throughout the world. Big Picture: No matter where you live in the world everyone uses bowls.

Guided Practice/Application

Demonstrate the following:

  1. Rolling clay into a ball
  2. Placing thumb in center of ball.
  3. Pinching with fingers and thumb to expand walls to build a well-balanced pot.
  4. Create a coil and add to top of pot. Add decorations such as spirals for flair!
  5. Decorating pot with clay tool of choice from assortment on table, creating a balance design around pot.

You can tie in literacy by creating a flow chart describing how the clay changes its form in each process of drying and firing.

Independent Practice

Give each student a blob of clay and have them roll it into a ball and create a pinch pot. Encourage them to try a coil and add to top. Students continue to create pot and add textures and complete by end of day.

Day 2

Guided Practice/Application

Paint/glaze pots. Demonstrate proper use of painting materials.

Independent Practice

Students paint/glaze pots in colors of their choosing. Students should complete painting their pots by the end of the day.

Classroom Extension Ideas

Bowls are universal tools—people all around the world use them—but we also use many other kinds of tools and dishes when we cook and eat. Make a list as a class of other dishes we use every day.

Differentiation and Modifications:

Modification: Modify on an as needed basis per student. Early finishers can assist other students as needed.


Art Rubric

Materials Needed

pictures of bowls from countries throughout the world; clay; canvas scrap to cover workspace; clay tools such as plastic forks, satay sticks, shells, sponges, string or yarn; glaze, watercolors, or tempera paint; paintbrushes

Artwork in this Lesson

  • Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University