Functional Clay

functional 6

After finishing the figurine project, I opened up clay as a medium students could use when they were working on Independent Projects. Some students decided to make functional clay projects, either on the wheel or using hand-building techniques.

Functional Clay - Students hand-built or threw on the wheel to create clay pieces they could use everyday!

For hand-building, I showed students how to roll out coils, score and slip them, and then blend them together to create bowls or cups.

Functional Clay - Students hand-built or threw on the wheel to create clay pieces they could use everyday!

A lot of students got more adventurous with their glazing. They created patterns in the clay and then glazed their piece using different colors.

Functional Clay - Students hand-built or threw on the wheel to create clay pieces they could use everyday!

Some students tried throwing a couple times and then moved on to other ideas. A handful of students really stuck with it and practiced throwing any chance they got! It was exciting to see how much they improved over time.

Functional Clay - Students hand-built or threw on the wheel to create clay pieces they could use everyday!

It was so much fun to display their work in the cases in our main hallway and cafeteria. I realized pretty quickly that I needed to change out the displays more frequently than I planned. So many students were anxious to take their clay projects home and quite a few of them wanted to give it to someone as a gift.

Functional Clay - Students hand-built or threw on the wheel to create clay pieces they could use everyday!

Supplies: Clay, Glaze, Clay tools, Wheel, Bats

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Figurines

Functional Clay - Students hand-built or threw on the wheel to create clay pieces they could use everyday!

I decided to try a new concept for my clay project this year.  When it was time to teach the element of Form, I started the class off with a PowerPoint of a wide variety of figurines. I showed them examples of animal and human figurines from ancient cultures. Then I showed them a wide variety of figurines that were created by current artists. (Downloadable PowerPoint: Clay Figurines)

Clay Figurines - Students created small figurines inspired by artwork throughout different time periods.

I opened up the definition of “figurine” to be any small object that was around 4-6 inches tall. I told students that their project didn’t have to be realistic. Many students came up with some very interesting abstract forms.

Clay Figurines - Students created small figurines inspired by artwork throughout different time periods.

We started the process by talking about basic hand-building techniques, like scoring, sliping, and hollowing out clay. I was so excited to open up the kiln to see that every single student’s artwork was intact! (Another big advantage to clay figurines is that I was able to fit them all into one load.)

Clay Figurines - Students created small figurines inspired by artwork throughout different time periods.

It was interesting to see what students came up with as their subject. I was impressed with the wide variety of ideas they had.

Clay Figurines - Students created small figurines inspired by artwork throughout different time periods.

This was their first experience using clay in my class. I wanted them to get excited about the medium without being overwhelmed. The size limitation meant that they could really take their time and put a lot of detail in their work.

Clay Figurines - Students created small figurines inspired by artwork throughout different time periods.

Some students were able to finish early enough that they had time to create another clay project. I let them choose if they wanted to work on another figurine or move on to making a functional clay project.

Clay Figurines - Students created small figurines inspired by artwork throughout different time periods.

Supplies: Clay, glaze, slip, clay tools

Downloadable PowerPoint: Clay Figurines