Cry of the Hawk

The student news site of North Harford High School

Cry of the Hawk

Cry of the Hawk


Should the northern Harford County area have its own 'snow zone' for inclement weather days?

  • YES (92%, 60 Votes)
  • NO (8%, 5 Votes)

Total Voters: 65

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Art teacher explains importance of science; Chemical formulas make artwork

Around 4000 B.C., the original potter’s wheel was constructed in Mesopotamia. Before the invention of this wheel, pottery was constructed by hand. Pottery was always known as a utilitarian style of ‘art.’ However, after the new mass-production style of pottery created by the use of the potter’s wheel, ceramics took on a more artistic purpose of expression. 

     Art teacher Mrs. Lisa Campbell teaches many types of art for the hawks. She teaches two ceramics classes,  three-dimensional design, and an advanced version of the course. In her classes, Campbell makes sure her students know how important chemistry and physics are to the art of pottery. 

      According to Campbell, within “the basics of throwing” clay, there is an “equal and opposite reaction.” “Structural strength” is key when throwing on the potter’s wheel, Campbell added. Forces applied to the clay by the potter’s hand changes the shape and thickness of the clay, relating to physics. “Depending on the position of the hand” it can “propel the wall up” or down on the wheel, she  explained. 

     Wet clay is molded into a desired shape, then dried to become brittle. Next, it is placed in extreme heat that cooks the clay to a hardened finish. How does a material that came from the Earth soft, turn to a rock solid piece of art? The answer is simple: chemistry.
    60% of the Earth’s crust is formed by the feldspar group of minerals. Clay is found after erosion occurred for many years. It is sometimes found after it has been moved through rivers and deposited in other places than where it was formed.

     The particles in clay are broken down into smaller pieces by hitting against other rocks in bodies of water. Due to the widespread deposits of clay, it can be found in many soil samples across the world.

     According to, “crystallographic studies” have found that “clay minerals are composed of sheets of tetrahedral silicon dioxide and octahedral aluminum oxide.” These sheets are attached by connecting oxygen atoms. 

     Kaolinite is one of the most important minerals found in works of pottery. “Through the structure, properties, and transformation of kaolinite,” the “physical changes involved” in the formation of pots can be better understood.

     Once pots are constructed to the desired form that the artist wants it to be dried, this dry pot can then be placed in the kiln. In the kiln, “once the temperature reaches around 500ºC,” the changes made to the work of art are “irreversible,” according to Up to this point, the hydrogen bonds in the pottery can be considered weaker. 

     Weaker bonds are then replaced by oxygen bridges, these bridges are shorter than the bonds previously in place. This causes the pieces to shrink minimally in the heating process. Pots must be fired to around 1000°C; at this degree, the pottery is stronger and has the tendency to dry fast. 

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