The tab and slot method was first introduced by the Russian Constructivist, Naum Gabo. His most famous works, “Constructed Head 1” and “Constructed Head 2,” were created by using flat planes (in his case, plywood) to create the impression of a three-dimensional shape. Using the tab and slot method, your students can explore the use of flat clay slabs that when put together give the impression of a three-dimensional teapot.
Tab and Slot Teapot Art Projects
The influential tab and slot method of creation has spread since its inception, now being used to make “put together” plywood and cardboard furniture. Using this simple method of construction, students will examine three-dimensional forms and their specific characteristics. Students will practice the use of analytical skills to conceptualize and then create their artistic ideas.
Discerning the right way to portray the teapot using flat planes is the first step, and is then followed by the creation of the intersecting planes and the slots that they will fit into. Templates should be created on paper first, to ensure that the proper teapot characteristics are represented and visible before rolling and cutting the clay.
Tips for Creating Tab & Slot Artwork
Getting your students involved and motivated to try something new can be tough, but these tips for working with the tab and slot method can help to prevent frustration and make the process more engaging.
- Have students brainstorm and research images of teapots — highlighting features of the pots that catch their attention and why.
- Make sure that the slots are made slightly larger than the tabs, ensuring that the pieces fit together and that the completed project can stand on its own.
- Encourage students to add detail to their initial plan or template, taking color choice and any cultural references in the design into consideration before construction.
- After the art has been fired, give students space to present their finished work and to explain the meaning behind their creative choices to the other students.
More Ceramics Art Lesson Plans
The hands-on nature of ceramics makes it a student favorite, and we have lots of ceramics-based lesson plans to inspire you and your students to create. Be sure to stop by the online store to buy all the ceramics tools and clay you need, and browse through other ceramics lesson plans below: