This article by Marvin Bartel by Marvin Bartel first appeared in the June 2002 issue of Studio Potter.
"Thomas Aquinas (1) defined "human" as, "a being with brains and hands. As such our greatest joy comes when we can employ both our brains and our hands simultaneously in ways which are creative, useful, and productive." As a potter, father, grandfather, teacher, artist, and art educator, I have a longstanding interest in how much children love to work with clay. Most children, up to ages six to eight are by nature curious and self-confident about everything. While they instinctively love to use their hands, many children have been acculturated to worry about getting "dirty." I show them how easy it is to rinse and sponge the clay off their hands and they lose all inhibitions and plunge in."