A Day with Clay

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This week over at Studio Sprout we explored… CLAY! Our younger students created some really inventive and unique pieces!
Materials Needed:

  • air-dry clay (we use 25lb blocks of Laguna)
  • tempera, activity or acrylic paint
  • paint brushes
  • cotton cloth or wood board to work on
  • foil or paint pallet
  • rolling pins
  • sponges
  • nature objects (rocks, twigs, etc.)
  • shape stencils (can be made out of thin plastic cutting boards found at Dollar stores)
  • Clay tools, tooth picks, palette knives

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We use cotton cloth under the clay so it doesn’t stick to the table. To familiarize everyone with the clay we had some interactive clay play. The first tool we experimented with was a garlic press. We made “spaghetti, worms, and hair”.
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Once we were comfortable with the clay, we used rollers with paint sticks to control flattening the clay a quarter inch thick.
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Younger students were given some support from adults because it requires a good amount of pressure to press out the clay.
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Students around the 4 year age mark are ready to cut out shapes. We use traditional clay tools for cutting and plastic stencils. We talked about pull the tool towards the body and turning the shape after each cut, peeling off the extra as you go.
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After our clay was shaped, we smoothed and rounded the edges of our clay with damp sponges or our fingers.
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At Studio Sprout we like to push the boundaries with art materials such as painting directly on wet clay!
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Students were encouraged to chose their own color schemes. As they painted we introduced new materials for them to incorporate.
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The students did a lot with the new nature objects. Some placed the objects and then painted them, while others placed the placed the objects but really worked to build with the added twigs and rocks. We saw a lot of vertical sculpture created with the twigs. Though some of less three dimensional finished pieces were punctured near the top with a straw so that they may be hung.
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Master Notes: For the older classes, we were inspired by Red and the Peanut’s ceramic owls. We used a variety of make-shift tools that everyone has at home, from toothpicks to popsicle sticks!
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