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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Winter SCORES at Johnson Middle School: Students design own bowls

Written by Kristen Miano
Digitial Media Intern

A recent Friday was report card day at Johnson Middle School. While the halls were packed with students either lamenting or celebrating their grades, students involved in the Winter DC SCORES program sat down to an activity that was slightly less academic but new to the kids: pottery painting.

All Fired Up, a paint-your-own pottery studio located in the Cleveland Park neighborhood of the District, partnered with DC SCORES to set the students up with brushes, paints, and a bowl of their own to decorate however they wanted.

“We do mobile studios, mainly for schools,” said pottery painting instructor Jenny Demagio, “which is something I love doing because it’s a great chance to show kids that art can be an outlet.”

Before they got to work on their masterpieces, the students learned how their bowls were going to be made. Once they finished painting, the bowls would be taken back to the All Fired Up studio to be placed in the kiln -- a giant, extremely hot oven -- for upward of 36 hours. The long exposure to heat would help glaze the bowls, making them shiny and food-safe for the students to use.

For many students, this was their first time painting pottery.

“It’s harder than I thought it would be,” said Quinnyetta S., age 12, as she used a sponge brush to add polka dots to her purple bowl. “(I’m) painting almost the whole thing.”

No two students designed their bowl the same way. Some used stripes, while others simply painted their entire piece one color. One student painted the inside of his bowl yellow and made the outside green so it could be his “Green Bay” bowl. Another used every color he could fit on the dish and added a clown face to the bottom, dubbing his theme “circus.”

Despite the differences in design, the students all had the same plan for how they were going to use their bowls.

“I’m going to eat out of it,” said Lamar M., age 12.

Things the students said they would eat out of their finished bowls included cereal, macaroni and soup -- and, of course, many of the healthy snacks they learned to prepare during the six-week nutrition season.

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