This project happens in two parts. First you'll need a section of drywall (it's great to grab scraps from anyone who's doing a remodel project). Then you need to get the paper off of one side of the drywall, if you soak it in a shallow container of water for about an hour, you should be able to peel the paper right off. Next, you're ready for the carving. I use clay tools to carve into the drywall and its rather easy to carve if its still wet from the soaking process. HINT: Make sure you clean your tools well before using them in clay again, plaster can make your clay explode in the kiln!
Start by dividing up your drywall into sections so that that you have 6-8 different shaped areas, then choose a different texture to carve into each area. When you've finished carving, let the drywall dry and if you get lots of little crumbs stuck from carving, use a paintbrush to clean them out. These carvings can be very interesting in their own right and can be painted with watercolors if you wish or you can use them as handmade texture stamps for clay.
Now for the second part, roll out a slab of clay that is about 3/8ths of an inch thick (about as thick as a pancake) and about 12"x 12" across. Lay your clay on top of your textured drywall and gently press the clay into the texture, if you need to move the clay to texture another area, just peel it off, move it and press again until your clay is completely textured. This is when students will see the negative and postive shapes of their carving. Any spot that they carved deep in the drywall will be popping out of their clay. HINT: The drywall may crack if you put uneven pressure on it but the paper backing will hold it together and your stamp will still work fine. HINT: If you see lots of pieces of plaster in your clay, you'll need to pick them out carefully with a tool, as they can make your clay explode in the kiln!
I give students a paper template to trace and cut out the 4 walls for their textured box, this helps make sure that their walls will be straight. The boxes that I'm showing here are about 6" tall by 3" wide, but you can make your box any shape you'd like. HINT: Shorter cube shaped boxes are easier for small hands! If you run out of room on your slab of clay to cut all your pieces, just combine all the little pieces together, roll out another slab, texture it and continue cutting the pieces. Scratch-to-Attach all of the edges of your walls and carefully start to build them together making sure that the corners are attached really well here. To make the bottom and the lid, trace the perimeter of your box on top of your slab and cut out one of these shapes for the bottom and one for the lid. Scratch-to Attach the bottom on making sure that the edges are well attached. Using your extra clay pieces create a handle for your lid (any shape or size you'd like) and scratch-to attach it onto the lid.
Let the boxes completely dry, then bisque fire. When you're ready to glaze, I like to put a glaze on and then use a sponge to wipe some of the glaze off of the surface which really enhances the texture. The glaze will pool and be deeper colored in the texture and lighter on the surface.