This year at Urbana Middle School, eighth grader Daniel Reid planned to take Spanish. Instead, 13-year-old Reid decided to swap that class out for visual arts — a decision he has not regretted.
“It is really fun. You can express yourself,” he said, adding that ceramics is his favorite art form so far. “I like to work with clay. It’s hands-on, and you can roll it around and play with it and shape it.”
The class started out with a kaleidoscope project students created with markers, Reid said, but they soon were given the task of creating a pot using coils, a specific ceramics method done with clay.
“We started with the base and then made individual coils,” he said, carefully pointing to the different parts, layered on top of each other that make up his finished product. He explained how he had to make the coils in the middle longer to give the specific shape to his pot that he had hoped for.
When asked what inspired the particular shape of his project, Daniel responded, “I was doodling around. I thought I wanted to make a trophy, but that didn’t work out. So I kept the base and the shape.”
As he continued to work on the project, Daniel said he decided to add more interest to his ceramics piece.
“I thought I should add spirals,” he said, pointing to the stripe of bright blue coils that circle the top of the pot. To give color to ceramic pieces, Daniel said the piece is first shaped, then put in the kiln, and then the color is added, then fired again.
“Before you fire the clay, it is gray and then it is white,” Daniel said, explaining the difference after his ceramics project was taken out of the kiln for the first time. “It feels kind of like cement. … [After it is painted,] then it feels glossy and smooth.”
The brown and blue colors used on his pot came from his love for the beach and his spring break experiences.
“I go to the Caribbean every spring break, and the water is very light there,” Daniel said, explaining that his project reflects the colors of the beach. He has been to Costa Rica and St. Thomas and said he soon is headed off to St. Kitts with his family.
When in high school, Daniel said he plans to take a visual arts class as well. In addition to his interest in art, Daniel plays the drums. Also athletic, Daniel plays forward and left wing on the club FC Frederick Royal team. His future goals include continuing to play the drums, as well as playing soccer in college.