Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Clay Night bonds families in a creative way


Family Clay Night starts after dinner in the school cafeteria at Longleaf Elementary with about 400 pounds of gray clay that's distributed among 80 families.

"I love this," principal Arlene Bodden said as she meandered through the cafeteria checking out each and every creation while holding her granddaughter on her hip. "When do any of us as adults have time to do this? It's just so great to see all these families working together."

Families like 10-year-old Kay Lynn Smith and her mom, Valerie, who made Sonic the Hedgehog while 5-year-old Adrianna Fonte and her mom, Angela, got good and messy creating a birthday cake complete with candles.

There was the Holly family — Phillip, Linda and their sons Evan, 4, and Brendan, 9 — thinking they might not be able to top the Godzilla masterpiece they made last year.

"I'm trying to make a turtle," Phillip Holly said of his rather awkward-looking reptile. "But it might just end up being something with legs."

One table over was Alina McCoy, 6, fashioning a plate of gray cookies and noodles that she promised to serve up for her dad, and her little brother, Lucas, 3, rolling the thick legs of a dog between his hands under the watchful eyes of their grandmother, Judy Stumpmier, who recently flew in from Arizona to spend the cooler months with her grandchildren.

It's a creative kind of night, an annual mainstay since the school opened five years ago, said art teacher Stefanie Bracciale, who has had lots of help keeping the tradition going. No way could she pull this off without current and former teachers who volunteer to come out for the night. Add to that the educational potter's wheel demonstration by Clay Verge, who retired last year as the art teacher at Hudson High.

Each family chips in $10 to participate. Any proceeds go into a school clay and glaze fund that all students benefit from during their art classes.

"It's a regularly anticipated event," said Bracciale, who will be busy firing the family pieces in a kiln each day after school between now and the winter holidays. "We've seen everything from gorgeous turkey centerpieces that are sure to become family heirlooms to platters and bowls, animals and some terrific unidentifiable treasures."

"I really enjoy this event because it's fun and it engages families who are happy to spend time with each other in a creative environment," she said. "They get excited about what they've created and have a nice souvenir for the night to remind them of the evening."

Clay Night bonds families in a creative way 10/19/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 19, 2010 3:35pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Mexicans dig through collapsed buildings as quake kills 225 (w/video)


    MEXICO CITY — Rescuers found a surviving child on Wednesday in the ruins of a school that collapsed in Mexico's magnitude 7.1 earthquake, one of many efforts across the city to try to save people trapped in debris under schools, homes and businesses toppled by the quake that killed at least 225 people.

    A man is rescued from a collapsed building in the Condesa neighborhood after an earthquake struck Mexico City, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017. The 7.1 earthquake stunned central Mexico, killing more than 100 people. [Associated Press]
  2. Construction starts on USF medical school, the first piece of Tampa's Water Street project


    TAMPA — Dozens of workers in hard hats and boots were busy at work at the corner of South Meridian Avenue and Channelside Drive Wednesday morning, signaling the start of construction on the University of South Florida's new Morsani College of Medicine and Heart Institute.

    A rendering shows what the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine and Heart Institute will look like when completed in 2019. Local officials gathered Wednesday to celebrate as construction begins on the facility, the first piece of the Water Street redevelopment area in downtown Tampa. [Rendering courtesy of the USF Health]
  3. Flooded Withlacoochee River nears crest


    The flooded Withlacoochee River neared its projected crest Wednesday, with expectations that the floodwaters will begin to recede by the weekend.

    LUIS SANTANA   |   Times This aerial drone view shows flooding in the Talisman Estates neighborhood along the Withlacoochee River.
  4. Tampa Electric rules, Duke Energy drools, Hillsborough commissioners declare


    TAMPA — The pile on of Duke Energy continued Wednesday in Hillsborough County, where commissioners boasted how quickly most of their constituents had power after Hurricane Irma.

    Duke Energy workers cut tree limbs off a power line on Sept. 11 following Hurricane Irma.
  5. Whatever USF has to say about Temple waits till Thursday


    "The holes were wide open. Anyone could have run through them."

    South Florida Bulls cornerback Mazzi Wilkins (23) intercepts a pass during the second half of the home opener for the South Florida Bulls against the Stony Brook Seawolves at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times