Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Octopus Gardens

These mini coral reefs are easy to build and filled with interesting texture.  Start by building the reef base out of a pinch pot.  So make a sphere of clay, push your thumb into it and squeeze around the sides to make a bowl shape.  Then flip it over, you can dent it in or push it out in areas or even push a hole through the side so you have a cave in your reef.  Next break off small pieces of clay and roll out 8 cone shapes for your octopus' legs.  Scratch the wide end of each of the legs and scratch the top of your reef and attach each of the legs on, its a good idea to put on hand underneath the reef as you push the legs on so that you don't collapse the reef in.  Take your time blending the legs together and shaping them.  Next roll a small sphere for the head of your octopus, scratch-to-attach it on top of where you attached the legs and blend it in with your finger or a tool.  You can add eyes or a face onto your octopus if you'd like too. 

Next we'll start building the coral and reef creatures to add on.  I encourage students to add on at least five different elements and to cover the entire surface with texture.  I also give students lots of images of coral reefs to inspire ideas.  Besides interestingly shaped and textured corals and seaweeds, students like to add on crabs or eels, sometimes a baby octopus or little fish.  Make sure that all the elements you build are scratched-to-attached on to the reef well.  You can also move the octopus' arms to wrap around the items that you add on.  Encourage students to continue to turn their sculptures around and view them from all sides, making sure that they have interesting elements from every point of view.  Once glazed, these sculptures are safe to put into a fish tank as handmade decoration if you'd like! 

!!!B CR8IV!!!