Saturday, August 8, 2015

Clay Shakers/Rattles - High School

Another great project is to have kids make clay shakers or rattles. I usually give them tips on how to make some easy ones and then ask them to make one this is really unique. Given very few guidelines, they really come up with some creative ideas! We start by making tiny "balls" for the insides to make them rattle. If they clay is not leather hard, we line the inside with newspaper so the balls don't stick to the inside. The newspaper just burns up in the kiln. Don't forget to put a tiny airhole so they don't blow up!



Cheese (after all, we are in Wisconsin!)

Ying and Yang

Carved Hollow Ball

Interesting take on Minnie and Mickey

Pillow Shaker

Spoons - a quick little lesson

Sometimes I need a lesson that will go kind of fast. Spoons are easy to make (except for my heavy-handed students). The pain is that these all have to be glaze fired on stilts. Not to mention, I need to have an eagle-eye to watch out for those kids that think they can make drug paraphernalia please! I've lost count of the spoons in the greenware stage that I have had to recycle. Here are some samples:

Ocarina or Whistle

I have done this lesson a bunch of times and everytime I do, I swear I will never do it again. On the one hand, the kids like having whistles. On the other hand, it can be hard for them to get them to whistle. Which means I have 45 kids in each class asking me to make their instrument make sound. Putting in the windway, the ramp, and the voicebox is always a challenge!

Here are just a few:

Cultural Connections with Clay

While I introduce art with cultural connections, there is always one big project that we talk about the different cultures at our school, and I show a lot of work from artists of different backgrounds. Some students are very touched seeing work from contemporary artists expressing their cultural perspectives. I don't force students to express their particular culture if they are attracted to another one we have discussed. It is interesting to see who picks what. This is usually a project I can get students to spend a lot of time working.

 2D Sugar skull

 3D Sugar skull

This student's background is Puerto Rican and Italian.

This student was Mexican and wanted to make a falcon.

Ojibway Medicine Wheel

Australian Aboriginal Dot painting

Hamsa Hand 

African Mask

Anishinaabe, Turtle Clan

Vessel with Celtic Design

Trompe L'Oeil - "Fool the Eye"

For this lesson, we studied Pop Artist who used food in their artwork. We talked about Trompe L'Oeil (or Fool the eye) and watched videos of artists that made realistic looking clay pieces. Some students did fantastic, some did OK, but everyone really liked the project.

Some students use donut and muffin tin molds

Hard Slab Construction Clay - High School Students

Making and working with hard slab construction is always a bit of a struggle with my students. They tend not to always remember to wrap their projects tightly and then upon drying they get cracks. But I find once I get them through that stage, they really like working with slabs. I have done two projects. In the first project every student creates the same cube to start. Then they can do whatever they want to the box. It's fun to see what they come up with!

Going to need a bank to save money for Tiffany's!

The Space Shuttle heading to Mars - aliens await!

In the 2nd semester, I sometimes assign a project called "My Corner of the World". Students make a corner using three hard slabs. They are encouraged to create a tableau that reflects either their world, their culture, a place they love, or express how they feel.

This is a street tableau with graffiti. This girl used to be in a gang.

This is a Hmong student who expressed her love of the Asian culture.

This project speaks to the student's two different cultures and the different sides of herself.

From Puerto Rico!

This student had a very unhappy year, "Trust No One, Forever Alone"

Friday, August 7, 2015

Using Molds with Clay

Students really love to learn how to use molds because it can help to make a piece they are proud of. You will see in some of my later posts, some more unique ways of using molds. We teach hump and slump methods, and then we also use bowls, baking tins, etc using release like vaseline and a thin plastic wrap to easily remove their projects.

This student used a plaster mold to make a bowl and then glazed it.

The same mold, but finished quite differently

A two part Plaster mold, student chose to leave the flange

It is usually easy to get students to make leaf bowls, they are easy, quick, and everyone seems to be successful. These were made with combinations of hump and slump molds.

Many more mold ideas under Clay Food Post