Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Fessing up already

OK so I have a secret that I have been sort of keeping from this blog and it's honestly pretty dumb but I have done some thinking about it enough (perhaps the better word would be rationalizing?) to finally share it with you all.

Here's my confession: I am (almost) addicted to making virtual pottery on the Let's create Pottery iPad app.

I know. I know. This is so dumb!  I should have been working on reviewing/playing with other iPad apps that are art and design related vs. playing what is essentially a game that could just as well be called Farmville or Cityville.

(And you can stop reading now if you want because I will also admit that I have adamantly REFUSED to jump on the Farmville bandwagon so if I have just offended you, I am sincerely sorry because after puttzing around on the pottery game I am here to tell you I. GET. IT. I am WITH. YOU. and your virtual/sim game/life thing that you cannot get enough of!!!)

But seriously? The pottery game is AWESOME.

IT IS AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I mean, yes - it IS a game since you don't just fake hand-throw pottery on a fake pottery wheel while fake nature sounds play in the background like you are working en plein air...

... and then fake fire it in your fake kiln...

... and then fake sell it at a fake art auction with a fake soundtrack of an auction gavel and people bidding.

Yes. It is definitely all of that fakeness. BUT! There are also "design" challenges that come in fake email requests and are essentially commissioned pottery requests that have a little message with the design requirements and a picture that you can use to inform your sculpting and glazing decisions. And some of the challenges are actually quite challenging! Especially the castle one toward the end - which would be, like, level 30 or something.

Uhmmm... yes. I did play it all the way to level 30 and beyond and I actually finished the game.

(I am shamed and saddened because I want the app designers to get off their duffs and MAKE. MORE. LEVELS. ALREADY!!!!)

But here's the thing. Even after you finish all of the design challenges, you can still just keep making cool designs and trying to get high scores at the auction so you are essentially competing against yourself.

You can also do things like look up different types of pottery - as in, studying art history (LOVE IT!!!) - and have that help you to inform your sculpting and design decisions.

And if you get really into it, you can start posting some of your favorite designs to the Let's Create Pottery online community gallery (I KNOW. Don't even say anything about me doing this. *Sigh* Just don't.) And look at other people's work and try and see if you can make some of the cool stuff they make!




*more crickets*


But honestly. It's not all that bad. I mean seriously!

And on that more serious note, I have actually thought about how this app can extend far beyond it just being an online simulation game. 

Now, I don't know enough about throwing pottery on a real wheel so I can't tell you if this so closely imitates that process but as far as problem solving and design challenges that a teacher could give to students similar to the fake commissioned pottery requests within the game, I feel like that is definitely something that could work in an art classroom. I mean, it will never ever be able to take the place of the experience of making REAL pottery but I don't see why it couldn't work as a warm-up activity or idle-hands -type activity.  Of course, you would need to have at least one iPad and more than just one would be much more preferred since I can imagine other students would want to partake in the activity as well. Some ideas for design challenges? Well here are some I challenged myself to make...

 Pretty fun, no? They are all a similar shape/silhouette but I am sure others could be done as well and it would just take some brainstorming. Other stuff could also be done, like, requiring students to use certain color groupings...

The way I see it there's actually a lot that could be done beyond just using this app as a simulation game.  So, that's my review for the iPad app Let's create Pottery. In my defense, I haven't actually been playing near as much as when I first discovered the app and I use it as a bit of a motivator (for myself) when I am in the midst of graduate school work and I need a break. Someone else who likes it too? My four year old daughter! Yeah. It's that easy AND fun.

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