Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Clay Emotion Heads

Create a human head expressing any emotion you'd like using the pinch pot method of building and scratching-to-attach your parts on.

Sessions: One 30 min - 1 hour session

Age: Kinder and up


Low Fire Clay
A Variety of Clay Tools
Photo examples of different human expressions
Low Fire Glazes & Brushes


1. Cut off a piece of clay that is about as big as a baseball.

2.  Cut it into 3 equal pieces, two will be for the head and one for adding on parts.

3.  Make two of the pieces into spheres by rolling them in your hands. 
Put the 3rd piece aside for now. 
4.  Push your thumb into each sphere and start to squeeze around the side to create a small pinch pot, repeat this with the other sphere. 
5.  Using a scratching tool, "scratch-to attach" the edges of both pinch pots so they will stay connected together.  Anytime we attach two pieces of clay together, we'll be using scratch-to-attach techniques. 
6.  Gently press both halves together and blend the seam until the shape is smooth, be careful not to dent in the sphere as you smooth.  You can shape the sphere to be more head shaped but make sure that you are keeping a hollow space inside the clay--if it is squeezed to the point where its a solid piece of clay, it can explode in the kiln.  HINT:  You can use steps 1-6 to build a base for building a lot of projects.
7.  Now its time to be creative and start adding on your human head parts using that 3rd piece of clay we put aside in the beginning.  Just break off small pieces to start shaping eyes, ears, nose etc.... 

8. Remember that any parts you add on must be scratched-to-attached on--think velcro!!
9.  Use your tools to help you create a lot of emotion in your face. 
10.  Add unexpected elements, like this bee on the nose of the clay head to create a story about what is going on with your sculpture.
11.  Adding hair, hats or other items to the back of a head can make the whole sculpture more interesting to look at by adding an element of texture.
12.  Once all of the parts are added on,the last thing you need is to make sure that there is a hole into the hollow space of your head (in this case the mouth is the hole), you can use a pointy tool and just poke a hole through in the bottom of your piece.  HINT: If you forget this step, there is a really good chance your project will explode in the kiln because you are trapping air!!  Let your piece dry completely, fire it in the kiln and then use glazes to enhance your sculpture and finally fire it again to complete your piece.

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