Friday, October 25, 2013

Taking (an obvious) Break from Blogging

Since its been over a year since my last project post, I guess its pretty obvious that I've taken a break from blogging. Please join me on Facebook or check out what I've been up to in the studio at my website:

Looking forward to seeing you all there!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Ice Cream Cones

Claes Oldenburg "Floor Burger"

The Pop Art style food sculptures of Claes Oldenburg inspired these fun ice cream cone wall sculptures. This is also a great project to discuss 3-D shapes with students.  Have students roll out a slab of clay that is about 3/8th of an inch thick.  I give students a paper template that will make a cone shape when wrapped up, this will also determine how large you want your ice cream cones to be (this one is about 15" tall).  Have students trace the template and cut it out, then wrap up the clay into a cone shape.  Scratch-to-attach the edges together well and let the cone rest wide part down while they add any cone texture they'd like with tools.

Next, using another piece of clay, students will make a sphere about the size of an orange, then make that sphere into a pinch pot by pushing their thumbs into the middle and squeezing around the sides.  This will make the ice cream scoop on top.  Its OK if the pinch pot has lumps or dents on it, it will make it look like a realistic scoop of ice cream.  Advanced students can make a double or triple scoop of ice cream, but be sure to put a hole between each of the scoops so that you are not trapping air (this will make the sculpture explode in the kiln!)

Scratch-to-attach the edges of the cone and the edges of the pinch pot so that they can attach them together.  HINT This part can be a little tricky especially if you are working fairly large.  Use some crumbled up newspaper stuffed inside the cone and pinch pot to help keep the shape while you blend the two together-it will burn out when you fire it in the kiln.  Have students take their time blending both parts together and make sure they are well attached.  The sculpture can be laying flat on the table now.  Have students choose the type of ice cream flavor they want and any extras like a cherry on top or sprinkles and scratch-to-attach them onto the ice cream.  When they are finished building, roll the sculptures over gently so that you can put a hole into the back of them, this will give you something to hang it by when you are finished and it will also prevent it from exploding in the kiln. Fire the pieces and then glaze them will the appropriate colors for the flavor of ice cream!

!!!B CR8IV!!!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Textured Box

These sweet and simple boxes are a great way to introduce texture to young artists.  I love using the textured rubbing plates from Dick Blick Art Supplies for this project.

Start by rolling out a flat piece of clay that is about 3/8ths of an inch thick (or about as thick as a pancake), then make sure that the surface is smooth.  Next choose your textured rubbing plate and lay it on top starting at one end of your clay.  Using a rolling pin, roll over the texture plate pushing down evenly as you go.  You can peel up one corner to check if you have pushed hard enough, if not roll some more, if it looks good peel up the rubbing plate.  If your clay is larger than your rubbing plate, you'll need to lay the rubbing plate down again in the blank clay area and roll in the texture again until the entire piece of clay is covered with your texture.

Next have your students cut out one square of clay (you can give paper templates for this if you think they need them).  Once they have one square cut out, have them lay it down on top of their clay in a new area and trace the first square so that the second one is exactly the same size.  Continue doing this until each student has 6 squares. If you run out of room on your clay to continue cutting out squares, squish all the small scrap pieces together, roll it out flat again and put the texture in again.  Now its time to assemble the box.

Pick one square that will be the lid and put it to the side.  Pick the square that will be the bottom and use a scratching tool to scratch all the edges, then scratch 3 sides of the remaining 4 squares.  Now that everything is scratched,  pick the first wall and attach it to the bottom of the box- it may be a little wobbly at first.  Next, attach the second wall to the bottom square and then squeeze the corners together being careful to not smooth out your textures.  Continue until all the walls are up.  Using your extra clay, create a knob for the lid and scratch-to-attach it on top.  You can also cut out a smaller square and attach it to the bottom of your lid so that it won't slid off the box.  These boxes make great gifts and are ready to hold special treasures!
!!!B CR8IV!!!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Circle of Friends

For these very sweet Circle of Friends sculptures, I have students choose 4 - 6 people that are special to them to include in their sculpture.  We talk about what symbolism is and how to choose a symbol that would represent the person they are including.  

Start by rolling out a large slab of clay that is about 3/8ths of an inch thick and cut out the base piece for the sculpture.  Any shape is fine, it just needs to be big enough to fit all of the friends.  Next use gingerbread men cookie cutters or cut your own people shapes out, one for each person in the circle.  Then decorate each person with their symbol or give them their features, like hair clothes etc. Scratch-to-attach the feet and hands of each of your people shapes, then scratch approximately where they will go on the base piece and start assembling them. Its a little tricky to get all of the friends to stand up together at first, so I have students use a cup in the center of their circle so that the clay can lean on it until its dry enough to support itself.  You can also decorate the base piece with textures, patterns or symbols too.  Let them dry, bisque fire, glaze and glaze fire.

!!! B CR8IV!!!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Hand Soapdishes

These hand soap dishes are a two part project that will teach students the concept of positive and negative space.  You'll want to cover your tables with newspaper to make clean up easier.  To make the hands, each student needs to hold a small amount of plaster in their hand until it hardens.  I recommend doing only one hand since they have to sit still for 10 min while it hardens.  

Once students are ready, mix up a small batch of plaster and put it into palm of the students hands, make sure to cover the entire top surface but DO NOT get plaster underneath the hand or their hand will be trapped in the hardened plaster!  Once their hand is full, have them hold still until the plaster hardens (about 10 min).  The stiller they can be holding the plaster, the less chances of major cracking or breakage off the mold.  While the plaster starts to harden I explain to students how this will be the negative space of their hands and that we will use it like a stamp to create the positive space of their hand in clay.  You can show examples of positive and negative space in art too.

HINT: You may need to mix up multiple batches depending on the size of your class, try not to mix up to much at one time or it will harden before you get to pour it into their hand.  If you have never worked with plaster before, I recommend trying it out on your own before attempting with a class--it's a very manageable classroom material if you know what to expect!  

Once the plaster is hard, have students remove their hand slowly, small pieces will break off of the edges.  Write their name on the plaster and put aside to dry completely (12- 24 hours).  All of the crumbles of plaster should be wrapped up in the newspaper that you used to cover the tables and thrown away.  Make sure students wash their hands in a bucket not at the sink --plaster will clog up your sink!

For step two, you'll use the students plaster hand molds as a stamp and press clay into the mold.  I have students flatten out a piece of clay about the size of a large hamburger and lay that over the plaster mold.  Press the clay gently but firmly into every contour of the mold and then gently peel the clay away.  You should have a perfect positive of the mold with every detail showing.  You can use tools to trim and clean up the edges, make sure that you write each students name on the bottom of the clay hand (they will all look alike!)  Let them dry, bisque fire, glaze with a translucent glaze and glaze fire.  These hands make great soap holders or business card holders and make great Mother's and Father's Day gifts too!

!!! B CR8IV!!!