Thursday, 4 June 2015

Creating Animals in Clay

Clay can be a difficult topic to approach in a primary school classroom for a variety of reasons:
  1. It can be hard to come up with ideas for easy things to create that aren't pots or bowls.
  2. Things the children create are often too fragile to paint and rarely make it home intact.
  3.  Children can suffer from difficulties in ‘seeing’ things in 3D.
My most successful clay based art lesson was when I made clay animals with my 3rd and 4th class. The difference between this lesson and other clay making lessons was that it involved one key step that others I taught didn’t have: while I gave the children freedom to create whatever animal they wanted, they all started with the same 'base'. This meant that their work was far less fragile, more '3D' like, rather than 'flat', and still unique and creative looking.

We began by discussing various African animals they knew. We identified shapes, features, colours, the size of their ears, paws, heads, bodies, etc., noting that sometimes our brains can trick us into thinking certain things (eyes, heads, tails, etc.) are bigger than they actually are.
The children then picked an animal to create from clay using a specific method I found on wikiHow:
  • Using a tangerine sized piece of clay, roll out a snake shape.
  • Break off a small piece of clay for the head and roll this into a ball.
  • Use a lollipop stick to separate arms and legs of the body, with about 1/3 left in the middle, untouched.
  • Pose the body of the animal in whatever position it is sitting/standing in (this works especially well when you are making large cat type animals which lie on the ground).
  • Attach the head by making scratches on the bottom of the head and top of the neck of the animal before attaching it and smoothing out the edges so that they bind together. Use water if necessary.
  • Start to add features to the animal: a tail, ears, eyes, texture, etc.

Here are some of the finished pieces:

My class really enjoyed this lesson and found it quite straightforward. If you try it out, don't forget to leave a comment to let me know how it goes for you!

No comments:

Post a Comment