Clay Education for Students

Watershed teaching artists offer dynamic and educational clay programs to students in Maine. The artists visit schools to lead clay-centered lessons or host school groups at their community pottery studios. Working closely with classroom teachers, the teaching artists can design sessions that introduce students to historical uses of clay, current art-making practices, Maine’s geology, and environmental stewardship. The focus of these sessions is on process, not just product. 

View the program descriptions below to learn more about connecting with a Watershed teaching artist. If you find an option that resonates with you, simply fill out the affiliated form to begin the process of setting up a session. A teaching artist will contact you within one weeks’ time to discuss next steps.

Studio Field Trip

Students can visit a community potter’s studio (in Damariscotta or Hallowell, Maine) to practice working in clay. The teaching artist that you work with can tailor a project to meet your classes’ needs. Lessons can incorporate cultural, historical, or scientific themes.
Appropriate for all ages
Number of students:
  • For handbuilding: up to 20 students
  • For wheel throwing: up to 8 students
  • Studio fee:  $250 per day
  • Material fee: $3.00 per student if work is to be fired (up to 2lbs of clay per student; one finished, glazed piece per student)
  • Admin fee: $25

Submit a request to explore setting up a studio visit with a Watershed teaching artist.


School-based Handbuilding Lesson

A Watershed teaching artist will travel to your school and lead a handbuilding clay project that meets your needs and goals.

  • Appropriate for all ages
  • Number of classes in a day: 3 classes, each up to 1.5 hours long
  • Number of students: up to 20 per class. For classes larger than 20, an assistant fee applies.


  • Instructor Fee: $350 per day. Assistant fee is $200 per day and applies for classes with more than 20 students.
  • Material fee: $2 per student. Up to 2lbs of clay. All projects will be left wet at the school and can be air dried or fired in the school’s kiln.
  • Admin fee: $25

Explore setting up a classroom visit with a Watershed teaching artist by submitting an inquiry.


The Clay Experience

For younger students, working with clay provides an excellent opportunity to develop sensorimotor skills and explore ideas through play. This project offers students a chance to express thoughts and feelings through the use of their hands. The teaching artist will lead students through simple techniques for working with clay and then support their experimentation with the material. 

These sessions are ideal for small classes and for students who may have had adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), although every child will thoroughly enjoy problem solving in clay. The focus of the session is on exploration, rather than product; work is not saved or fired.

Appropriate for grades: K-5
Fee:  $350 per day
Admin Fee: $25

Explore setting up a classroom Clay Experience lesson with a Watershed teaching artist by submitting an inquiry.


Clay in Our Environment

This program provides an introduction to local clay. Students will learn the geology of clay, the history of the use of clay in Maine, and how to determine which types of clay will be suitable for certain jobs or projects. Watershed’s teaching artists can tailor the number of days and the amount of content in this program to your timeframe, budget, and age group.

Sample Project(s):

The options below represent a range of choices that your group could explore.

Day 1: Presentation on the formation of clay and its historical uses. Students can potentially handle samples of raw Maine clay. This session does not include making projects to be fired. Rather, the emphasis is on gaining knowledge and considering environmentally sound practices.

Day 2: Clay dig. This is an option if you have a raw clay supply near you.

Day 3: Clay processing. Learn what it takes to process clay for specific uses and/or explore hands-on clay processing. This is dependent on your time frame and whether you have a source of clay.

Day 4: Create a sculpture or group project from the clay that was processed from your local source. Project ideas could include creating outdoor sculptures, ceramic water filters, collaborative pieces, etc.

Appropriate for grades: 6-12
  • $350 per day    
  • $150 per kiln load if work is to be fired
  • $25 administration fee

Explore setting up a Clay in Our Environment project with a Watershed teaching artist by submitting an inquiry.