Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Chicken & Egg

Which came first, the chicken or the egg??

This is a two part multimedia project that can be applied to any egg laying animal if you're looking to accompany a curriculum based idea (I've had students make platypus' with this project too!)

The Egg:
You'll need a round balloon, newspaper, flour and water (to make paper mache) for each student.  This can be messy, so just be prepared, cover your tables, and stay calm! Start by blowing up your balloon, I recommend not to full capacity though- they tend to pop if stretched to thin. Then take a piece of masking tape and tape the tail of the balloon to the table your working at, this helps keep it from rolling away on you.  Prep your paper mache area by having a small container to put your mixture in and have all of your newspaper ripped up into strips and ready to go once your hands get all sticky.  Lots of people have very fancy paper mache recipes and techniques, here's a good one if you want to try: RECIPE but I just go with plain ol' flour and water mixed really really well to the consistency of pancake batter.  Once mixed, give each student some in their personal containers.  Dip a strip of newspaper into the paper mache mix, make sure its covered and then wipe off all the excess (I like to pinch it between my first two fingers and slide them down the stripe to pull off any excess), sometimes the paper will get too wet too quickly and it will rip, just put it to the side and try with another one.  It's always good to demo all of this for your students before you start to avoid the emotional melt downs!  Then layer the newspaper strips around your balloon until you have an even cover over the whole surface.  Let them dry completely, (about 24 hours) and repeat the whole process again and then again!  Now that you have a dry and strong egg, cut the egg in half to give it a cracked edge, I did this part for my students using a knife and scissors.  Once cracked open, you should be able to pull out the balloon remnants.  I gave my students  acrylic paints to decorate their eggs, inside and out.  You may want to spray the eggs with a coat of white spray paint to give them a base layer, as the newspaper print will show through on the lighter colored paints. Let the eggs dry while you move onto building the chickens!  HINT: Alternatively, you can do this whole process with plaster gauze instead of paper mache which is simpler, stronger and less messy--but way more expensive a material than flour, water and newspaper.

The Chicken:  These chickens (or whatever egg laying creature you've decided to make!) are made from simple pinch pots.  Start with two equal spheres of clay and make them into pinch pots by pushing your thumb into the center of the sphere and squeezing around the sides until you have a small bowl shape. Do the same to both spheres.  Take your scratching tool (wire tool, fork, comb...) and scratch-to-attach the edges of the bowls.  Then gently push them together and smooth out the seam with your fingers.  This creates the body of your chicken.  Now make one smaller pinch pot and turn it upside down onto the top of your body to create the head.  Scratch-to-attach it on and blend it in well to the shoulders of the chicken.  

Now using some extra clay, create your comb, eyes, beak, wings and legs. For the legs, roll out two coils of clay that are about the same size and thickness, scratch the end of each coil and scratch the body where you want to attach them on, blend them in well with your fingers.  You can push bend the ends up to create feet and then use a knife to cut some toes. The comb can be made by attaching a small coil of clay to the top of the head and then squeezing it thinner; mohawk style.  The beak is a small triangle and the eyes are two spheres with a smaller dot pushed into them. The wings can be two coils of clay that are equal in size and then flattened or two equal slabs of clay in the shape of wings, then scratch-to-attach them on.  Before letting your chicken dry, take a long pointy tool and make a hole from the bottom of the chicken up into the head to allow the trapped air to escape while its firing, if you forget this step--your chicken may blow up in the kiln! : (
Dry, bisque fire, glaze and then glaze fire your chicken.  Display your chicken and egg together!

!!!B CR8IV!!!

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