Linguistic Holes

Lesson Plan


Students will examine Hubert Candelario’s Jar and learn about the methods and intentions behind its creation. They will then apply the artist’s intentions to written works and use “holes” to create a new, aesthetically pleasing literary creation.

Intended Age Group

Secondary (grades 6-12)

Length of Lesson

One 50 minute lesson

Standards Area

Language Arts


Students will be able to:

  • describe at least two steps of the process used by the artist to create the jar; and
  • experiment with new techniques when engaging in creative writing.


  1. Warm-up: Divide students into groups of 3-4. Have them use the cups and forks to build a sculpture that stands on its own. Challenge them to build the sculpture as high as they can. Once they are done, tell them to change the sculpture and make a new one by removing different forks and cups. The sculpture must still be sturdy.
  2. Share the picture of the Jar with the students. Ask them how the artist has used the concept of taking away something in his artistic process. Ask the following questions to help them think about the jar:
    1. How is this jar different from other jars?
    2. What can this jar not do?
    3. What if the jar had only five holes? How would you react to it?
    4. How does his choice of the number, size, and pattern of holes affect how you respond to the jar?
    5. How does the process relate to the sculptures you built during the warm-up?
  3. Tell the students that you are going to apply this concept of taking away something to a piece of literature in order to create new, interesting and pleasing pieces of literature. The idea is to get them to play with the structure and power of words, just as Candelario played with the traditional concept of a jar through his design.
    1. Working with a partner, have students select lyrics to a song, a poem, or some other literary work. You may provide pieces or allow them to get something from a book or online.
    2. Students should play around with removing different words until they get a “new” piece that has its own aesthetic value. They should come up with several different ideas.

Example from Dr. Seuss’ McElligot’s Pool:


I might catch a fish

With a pinwheel-like tail!

I might catch a fish

Who has fins like a snail!

I might catch some young fish

Some high-jumping friskers.

I might catch an old one

With long flowing whiskers.

New #1:

I might catch a pinwheel

I might catch a snail

I might catch long flowing whiskers

New #2:

Catch a fish

Catch a fish

Catch some young fish

Catch an old one


  • Paper or journals for each student to write down thoughts
  • Pen or pencil for each student
  • Eight Styrofoam cups per group of 3-4 students
  • Ten forks for every group of 3-4 students
  • About the Art section on Hubert Candelario’s Jar (found at the end of the lesson plan) or student access to this part of Creativity Resource online
  • One color copy of the jar for every four students, or the ability to project the image onto a wall or screen


CO Standards

  • Visual Arts
    • Observe and Learn to Comprehend
    • Relate and Connect to Transfer
  • Language Arts
    • Oral Expression and Listening
    • Research and Reasoning
    • Writing and Composition
    • Reading for All Purposes

21st Century Skills

  • Collaboration
  • Critical Thinking & Reasoning
  • Information Literacy
  • Invention
  • Self-Direction

About the Art




Hubert Candelario, United States

Who Made It?

“There are only four potters at San Felipe Pueblo,” says Hubert Candelario, “and I’m one. The other three are married to potters from other pueblos, and that’s how they learned. Me? I just had a feel for it.”

Hubert Candelario was born in 1965 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Before becoming a professional artist, he studied architectural drafting and design at the Pheonix Institute of Technology in Arizona. In the 1980s he developed an interest in clay and began experimenting with pottery techniques and form. He was inspired by the work of Maria Martinez (whose work is also on the Creativity Resource website) and was fascinated by ancient Pueblo pottery designs. Because there are very few potters from San Felipe Pueblo, Candelario did not learn techniques from others, but experimented with his own personal style. “As a contemporary Native American Indian potter I have no limits, only choices,” he says. Today, Candelario lives in Albuquerque where he works on his pottery full-time.

What Inspired It?

After learning the basic techniques used to create a piece of pottery, Candelario used his experience in structure and design to move beyond the boundaries of traditional pottery. When speaking about a similar “Holey Pot” Candelario said, “I have always loved structure and design, fields that I originally studied at school. While making this pot, I thought about ways to incorporate structural principles into the design. I began cutting away holes in a traditional pot to see how far I could push the limits of structure. It was a technical challenge that succeeded.”



The clay and slip that Candelario uses contain gold colored flakes of mica that give the finished pot a glowing and sparkling surface.

Round Holes
Round Holes

Perfectly round holes pierce the jar on all sides. According to Candelario, “the holes are like nature; they are the structure of cells.” He first forms the jar by using a traditional method of coiling clay from a bowl base. After letting the clay dry for a few days, he uses a circular template to draw circles and then carves the holes using an Xacto knife. He carves the bottom of the pot first, then turns it over and carves the top. If cracks occur at any point, he will start over from the beginning.

Funding for lesson plans provided by a grant from the Morgridge Family Foundation. Additional funding provided by the William Randolph Hearst Endowment for Education Programs, and Xcel Energy Foundation. We thank our colleagues at the University of Denver Morgridge College of Education.