Monday, October 20, 2014

Clay Wall Pockets- RES

Each week at RES, small groups of students come to the Art Room for an Extra Art class. Extra Art focuses on building skills with hand coordination, strength, and fine motor tasks. Students love to come, and get to work on projects completely separate from what they have going on during their class' art period.

We use a lot of materials to build strength, because only if your muscles are strong can you gain greater control of finer tasks like pencil grip and scissor cutting.  Some materials and processes the students enjoy include clay, scrunching paper, and playing with wire, so I developed a project that includes all three of those.
Clay wall pockets
These clay wall pockets are made of two clay slabs rolled out and pinched together at the side, and stuffed with newspaper to leave an opening at the top. Two little holes are poked for wire to go through after they are fired. Rolling out clay from a ball into a slab takes a lot of muscle- it helps to stand!

The pockets are glazed inside and out so that they can really hold water, and could function as a hanging vase.  But to further challenge the art-making skills of my students, we created our own flowers out of tissue paper and pipe cleaners.

We talk a lot about texture in this group.  Clay is squishy and sticky, glaze is wet, etc., so it surprised me today to hear one of my students say that the fired pottery felt "soft" and would make a good pillow. We tested this out by putting our heads on the pockets (think about dinner plates here...this is fired and glazed pottery) and it was a great chance to talk about texture more specifically, how something can feel both smooth and hard, both nice to the touch and maybe not great to sleep on. We compared them to the pipe cleaners, which they decided were both soft and sharp at the same time.

So pretty!
Building muscles and beautifying our world, one Extra Art class at a time!

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