Friday, May 6, 2011

Patterned Pencil Holder

These slab-built pencil holders are easy for any age and make great gifts.  Start by rolling out a slab of clay that is about 3/8ths of an inch thick and about 5" wide by 9" long.  You can give students a rectangular paper template to help them cut out the right size.  Determining the size is a great opportunity to talk about the functional aspects of our pencil holders- too short or wide and the pencils will fall out, to tall and you won't be able to reach them.  Sometimes, I have students test their pieces with a pencil and if they don't pass the "pencil test", they need to rethink the size or shape of their pieces. 

Once you have the slab of clay the correct size, cut out your rectangle (about 5"x 9").  Wrap the rectangle into a cylinder and scratch-to-attach the edges together.  Next, use your extra clay to roll out another slab of clay (same thickness) so we can trace the cylinder to make the bottom.  If you trace the cylinder, you know that it will fit exactly onto the bottom.  Scratch-to-attach the bottom of the cylinder and the edge of the circle you've cut out.  I like to flip my whole cylinder over to attach on the bottom and blend in the edges.  You can also reach inside the cylinder with one hand and use the other on the outside to blend the two pieces together.  

Now you're ready to create your patterns!  I give students a lot of examples of patterns they could use on their pieces and I also encourage them to experiment with the clay tools, sometimes using the back of a tool will create an interesting shape in the clay.  Also using other objects such as pen caps, beads or natural materials will create an interesting mark too.  Encourage students to cover the surface of their clay in at least 5 different patterns.  Once they are finished, let the pencil holders dry completely, bisque fire them, glaze them and then glaze fire them.  
!!!B CR8IV!!! 

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