Woodfin Students Make 'Face Jugs'

Woodfin Students Make 'Face Jugs'
Posted on 04/01/2022
Woodfin Elementary students are reconnecting with their expressiveness by putting funny faces on clay cups.By Tim Reaves
BCS Communications Department

Woodfin Elementary students are reconnecting with their expressiveness by putting funny faces on clay cups.

Art teacher (and 2019 Erwin District Teacher of the Year) Ms. Lissa Pedersen is teaching her third-grade students how to create “face jugs,” an American art style created by enslaved African-Americans in the Carolinas and Georgia during the mid-1800s. They created fully functional cups, jars, or pots decorated with emotive faces – from silly to bizarre. Ms. Pedersen’s students used their imaginations to come up with funny designs or looked at themselves in hand mirrors while making silly faces.

“I like clay; it’s like slime but a little harder, and you can make things out of it,” said Miguel, a third grader. “We’re making these faces that were made by the people who were slaves before. So my thinking is to make a face that’s happy to be free.”

Aside from introducing children to myriad art styles and strengthening their fine motor skills, Ms. Pedersen said she also wants to support their growing minds. The face jugs play a key role in helping them recover emotionally from the pandemic.

“We were looking at eyes for expression and drawing them, and when the masks came off, we started drawing each other showing emotions on our facial features,” she said. “It’s a good time to celebrate faces and feel a closer emotional bond with each other.”

Lots of students liked getting their hands dirty, and Zaydn said he was excited about taking his clay cup home with him once he finishes making it.

“I’m really excited, ’cause it’s hard to do but it’s really cool,” he said.