Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Pinch Pot Creatures

   Children love clay. 
SO much.

For many years, EES students have spent a week per year heading to BCA's clay studio, but, alas, BCA is in the middle of a move to a new home on Pine Street, and we will not go this year. This is approximately what the children looked like when I told them this news.

Pixar shows it well.
In flew the PTO to rescue our students, by purchasing a couple hundred pounds of air-dry clay!  Thank you families, you saved the day! While I don't have a kiln, we were able to build lots of non-utilitarian sculptures and vessels, which while they are not safe for food, look totally awesome.

BCA has primarily had students throw clay on the wheel, so for many of these young artists, hand-building with clay is all new. The techniques I wanted 3rd and 4th graders to have include slipping and scoring to attach parts, and the know-how to make a basic vessel like a pinch pot.

The class looked at many examples of how artists use pinch pots as a basic form for a bigger sculpture, and were inspired to make a variety of aliens, creatures, animals, and monsters.

The artist of the work above wanted hers to be useful, so she poked several holes in the back to put lollipop sticks into, to display candy.

The back, with five holes for lollipops.
Students discovered that like with all clay, fired or air-dry, pieces which are not well attached are prone to falling off. Fortunately, students could hot-glue on anything which detached.

Lots of artists' work evolved into multi-media sculptures, adding details like feathers, pompoms, or wire.
Vampire bunny
Long wire eyelashes
Some artists made "minis" to either attach to their main pinch pot, or even to sit inside of it.

Mama and baby frog with wire "fly"
Stacked pinch pot alien
The "Baby" creature sits inside of, and can be removed from, the larger one.
One artist even decided to make hers conjoined, creating distinct faces and designs for each part.

We used SchoolSmart grey clay, and while its working properties are very similar to that of real clay, it was more crumbly when dry than expected and far more fragile than the real deal. If you have had success with a different brand, please share about it!

For students, it was just so exciting to finally have their hands into clay again, that they didn't mind the texture one bit. They look forward to using it again!

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