By Shantell KuyKendall

In the spirit of Halloween, Umatilla High School’s four Art 1 classes made ceramic pumpkins.

Making these pumpkins was the first of many clay activities and most students are enjoying it so far. Since this is the first ceramic assignment, students are learning the basics. Each pumpkin has it own unique design many students are sticking to the classic orange for the color.

“I’m making the face look kind of scared and the color of the pumpkin will be orange,” said Layla Reyes a freshman at UHS.

Umatilla High senior Hannah Boggs decided to go with the classic orange and a more lighthearted approach. “My pumpkin is going to have a goofy Jack-o-lantern face,“ Ms. Boggs said.

The art teacher, Mr. Matt DeLong, doesn’t have many requirements for this first project.

“As long as it has details and the clay body is in the shape of pumpkin, you’ll be able to get a passing grade,” Mr.DeLong said. .

There is a long process for making the pumpkins. Mr. DeLong has prepackaged clay so students don’t do the traditional first step: wedging, where the air bubbles and extra moisture is removed. For UHS art students the first step is to score the clay so two pieces will fit together. Next is the application of slip which is water but it works like glue. After shaping and adding designs to the pumpkins they sit out for a few days in the greenware phase to start to harden.

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Then the pumpkins are put to the fire for the first time in the kiln. As soon as it is out of the kiln it turns into bisque where it is hard as a rock and no more adjustments can be made. Next is the fun part, and hardest according to Mr. DeLong, Ms. Reyes and Ms. Boggs the glazing process, were you paint the pumpkin.

“Kids are going to think glazing process will be easy, but it takes a lot of practice to do,” Mr. DeLong informed.

“It’s hard to find the right color of glaze for the pumpkin.” Ms. Boggs said.

For the final step the pumpkin is put back in the kiln to fire for the second time.

Every student had there own personal favorite part of this activity. Being a “hands on activity” is the best part to Ms. Boggs.

There is a lot of things to like about making pumpkins, “getting to play with clay” is Ms. Reyes personal favorite.

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With every activity there are certain things you dislike. Such as how long a project might take. “I don’t like how the clay got under my nails.” Ms. Reyes said about making the pumpkins.

There’s a lot of time and money that goes into art classes. The cost for all the materials in making pumpkins wasn’t cheap.

“We have over a $1000 worth of clay but that’s not even the most expensive, the glaze costs way more.” Mr. DeLong said. “Last year we used over 2 tons of clay.”     

After that long process of making the pumpkins they get to take them home. There’s a lot of things to do with the pumpkins such as “putting a candle in it” like Ms. Reyes is going to do. Ms. Boggs decided to give hers to her mom as a gift.

Most students had fun making their pumpkins and are excited to do more ceramic activities. Sounds like Art 1 this year is going to be a blast.