Showing posts with label clay projects. Show all posts
Showing posts with label clay projects. Show all posts

Monday, July 10, 2017

In the Art Room: Celluclay Taxidermy Creatures!

Y'all, I know. You don't even have to tell me: these are the ugliest things I've created to date. When I showed the hubs the creation on the right, he said, "that thing is scary. Like really scary." This coming from a dude who lives for haunted attractions. Mission accomplished. 

I got the idea for this Celluclay project when I hosting my #creatingwithcassie craft nights over on Facebook live. It is similar to a project I did when writing my book except with that project, I used air dry clay and created cute little forest animal heads. With this one, I used Celluclay and made these ugly/cute bad boys. How to here:
Supplies: 

* Celluclay: To say I am obsessed with this stuff is an understatement. I love me some Celluclay every since discovering it when writing my clay book. For a grade level of 80 kiddos, I'd say you'd need 2-3 bags of the 5 lb. of clay. I always premix the clay, I never let the kids do this. It's very dusty and, with a group of kids, could get real insane, real quick. I like to mix mine up the day before, creating batches the size of a large grapefruit for every two kids. I then wrap the clay in plastic wrap and store in the fridge so as not to mold. The next day, I place in a bowl and let the kids unwrap the clay.

* Water: For mixing the clay. Don't ask me about measurements. This stuff should feel like clay. Not to soggy, not too dry. 

* Cardboard for Wall Mount: This project is geared towards kids in middle school and beyond. I'm guessing they will be able to cut through cardboard. Chipboard and mat board would work just as well. 

* Aluminum Foil: The Dollar Tree sells packs of 30 sheets of aluminum foil. I love this! The stuff is already cut for you. I will say, it's a very thin foil. You and your students may have to use more than one sheet to build a strong armature. It will need to support the weight of the clay.

* Paint: I used acrylic but tempera would work. I always cover my Celluclay pieces in a varnish like ModPodge to seal and protect. 

* Polymer Clay: Totally optional! I used this to create the eyes and the teeth. I thought the difference in texture would be fun. 
 This guy is small, only about 6.5" in height. What I love about this project and working with Celluclay:

1. You don't have to wrap your project to prevent from drying when class is over or you need to take a break. Allow your clay to dry out. You can simply work the wet clay back into the dry. YES!

2. It sticks to everything! Seriously. I've adhered this clay to plastic, cardboard, tagboard, foil and plaster and I've never had to bust out the hot glue gun. 

3. For that reason, no need to slip and score! Yippie!

4. I love the rough texture it creates. However, if that is not your bag, then good news, you can sand the clay once it's dry. Use a fine grit paper and do this either outside or wearing a cute lil paper mask thingie. 
 I always and forever, amen dry my Celluclay in front of a fan. It can dry super fast that way. Otherwise...it may take much longer to dry and mold. No one wants that. 
I've used both the white and the gray clay. Both take to paint very well...so no reason to purchase one over the other. 
Because the Celluclay sticks to everything in the universe (in the best possible way), you can use such things as air dry clay in combination. We found that out while I was leading a clay session at Art Scouts (details on that amazing adventure later this week!). The participants were adding tooth-shaped clay right into their masterpieces while it was wet...the next day, they were stuck in to place. 
 I also shared this process during my online craft nights. I LOVED seeing everyone's spin on this project. Imagine where our students could go with this idea. This amazing unicorn was created with plaster trips instead of Celluclay...which works just as well! 
 Here are just a few of the incredible creations I managed to snag a picture of at Art Scouts. Love this elephant! 
 And this dragon! At Art Scouts, I had about an hour for the participants to create an armature and make their masterpiece. Pretty impressive that they could knock it out so fast. The method I share in the video makes it a simple process. Once home, the Art Scouts started sending me photos of their finished pieces. 
 Love this one by Polly Blair. Notice she did not cover her cardboard in Celluclay. Totally optional. It really giver her piece a great contrast between the smooth wall mount and the rough texture of the dragon. 
 And this cutie from Jennifer Day. That face is a total crack up. 
Here's a peak at the other clay creations our Scouts knocked out in just two hours! These were created by my Joliet pal Nora Gleason. The heart was created with Celluclay while the wings were made with plaster trips. You can find that project here
 And these cuties created by Ryann Hawkins. LOVE them! I can't wait to share more from our Art Scouts adventures in a future post. Until then, I leave you with these faces only a mother could love...
Ah! I failed to mention that the "retainer" on the dino on the left was created with an unfolded paperclip and attached with hot glue. The cat eye glasses were some I had in my stash where I just removed the legs and attached to the bridge of the nose with hot glue. The bowtie on the dino on the right, was created from polymer clay and simply attached to the finished piece with hot glue. Now...where to hang such craziness. My art room, of course! 
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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

In the Art Room: Clay Tacos!

Hey, friends! I thought I'd share with you a fun clay project that you can do with either kiln fire or air dry clay: Clay Tacos! I did this project with my kindergarten kiddos and it was a huge hit. It also taught them a ton: clay can capture texture; how to create a sphere, coil and a slab, the holy trinity of clay sculpture; how to adhere clay with an alternative slip and score method. So here you go: Clay Tacos!
One thing I love when working with clay and kiddos is introducing them to texture and clay. We step on the clay, pound it into textures, you name it, we try it. My favorite thing is to have a variety of lace, doilies and burlap for them to experiment with. 
With a class of 20 kids pounding clay flat, it is going to sound like a crazy roll of thunder (with echoes of lots of laughs from the kids) but I have found it to be the quickest and easiest way to introduce the kids to creating a slab. 
With a beautiful textured piece of clay, the possibilities are endless! In fact, I'll be sharing EIGHT of my favorite air dry clay projects using this method and more at the Art Ed NOW conference
Have y'all signed up? You really should, it's a ton of fun. 
I explored EVERY air dry clay on the market (seriously) when working on my clay book which is now available for sale here! Many of the air dry clays have the look and feel of kiln fire so it's a great way to introduce kids to the magic of clay even if you are kiln-less. So get you some clay and make you a clay taco today! 
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Tuesday, June 6, 2017

In the Art Room: Salt Dough Sunflowers!

Here's a way to introduce your kiddos to clay even if you don't have a kiln: Salt Dough Clay! Last summer, when I was writing my book Clay Lab for Kids, I had to come up with kid-friendly clay recipes. You see, the book is divided into three parts: projects created with air dry clays available at craft stores; polymer clay projects and clay projects created with homemade clays. There are several clay recipes in my book (including an edible clay!) and this salt dough clay is one of my favorites. Here's how to make it and create a Salt Dough Sunflower (a project not found in my book, just for you!):
Here's the recipe which would be enough clay to create a half dozen flowers:
(Allergy warning! If you are allergic to gluten, this is not the project for you.)

* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/2 cup salt
* 3/4 cup water

Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl. Dump out ingredients onto wax paper or plastic and continue to knead until a soft dough forms. When creating, be sure to work on a plastic covered surface as this stuff is sticky! Also, when making this flower, use a styrofoam bowl or a bowl covered in plastic wrap so that the flower pops out easily when dry. 

Also, any clay not used, simply wrap in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for later use. 
I placed my flower in front of a fan to dry overnight. Just so you know: this is a dough so it will rise a bit! Don't be surprised if your flower looks a little fluffy once dry. 

Salt dough can also be cured by baking in the oven at 200. Keep an eye on it as the goal is simply to dry it out, not burn it. I have cooked mine for 15-30 minutes depending on the dampness of the clay. 

I painted my flower with acrylic paint but tempra could also be used. Be sure to cover with a coat of ModPodge to insure that it will not break. 
If you don't subscribe already, I update my YouTube channel with videos like this and all things art teachery pretty frequently. You are always welcome to use my videos and lessons...I just always appreciate a shout out. 

In other news, I'll be presenting at Art Ed NOW on August 3rd on...you guessed it, all things clay! I'll be sharing a TON of no-kiln clay projects for the elementary and middle school set. 

And if you've picked up my clay book and you have a spare moment, a review here would be so very much appreciated. Thank you so much, y'all!

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Monday, May 1, 2017

Art Teacherin' 101: Episode 33

If you are anything like me (and bless, as we say in the South, if you are), then you prolly got that art ed degree of yours without being a total pro in all forms of media. I didn't take a single printmaking or ceramics class in college and I got a C in textiles (which is a fave but at the time, I was huffing too many paint fumes, er, REALLY into my painting class, to be bothered with warping that freakin' floor loom). What I did get is a two year degree in oil painting because...you know, that's something we teach to the 10 and under set. Ahem. All that to say, we are expected to be at least somewhat knowledgable about the media we share with our students. But, let's be honest, a lot of times, we are learning right along with the kids. 

Now, I've been at this art teacherin' game for sometime now (18 years but who's countin'?) and I have learned a thing or two along the way. One thing is for certain: kids LOVE clay. However, it can be frustrating to teach if you lack experience. Since I've been around the art teacherin' block a time or two (wink-wink, nudgenudge), I thought I'd share some of my fave art teacherin' clay hacks with you. Here you go:
 Let's talk about some of the things I've shared and just where you can find them. 

* Clay mats. I mentioned The Clay Lady and her clay mats. I seriously have had mine FOR YEARS. They are worth the cost of $2 each. 

* Toothbrushes and doggie bowls. Seriously, what would we art teachers do without places like The Dollar Tree?! Toothbrushes are perfect for teaching scoring and doggie bowls are awesome for holding slip while preventing spills. 

* Texture! A visit to your thrift store will provide you with a good stockpile of texture for your clay adventures. Placemats, cable knit sweaters, burlap, stamps, you name it. If it has a texture, your clay will capture it.

* Skewer sticks. Perfect for cutting, drawing and carving into clay.
Something I failed to mention: what to do with those projects that kids work on for more than one class? To store these effectively, I have a stockpile of old and large zip lock baggies. The kids write their names on the bags in Sharpie, wrap their project in a damp paper towel and place gently inside the back. I tell the kids not to zip their bags shut as that usually traps air inside. Instead, I tell them to push the air out and tuck the opening of the bag under their project. This will keep their clay workable for about a week. 

If you would like to continue this clay chat, you are in luck. All throughout the month of May, I'll be hosting clay chats (and craft nights, so come armed with clay!) right here, every Wednesday at 8pm CST. You can work with any ole clay you like...however, I'll be using the clays made available in this kit which you can purchase here. For more info on what we'll be up to, check here

And now, I thought I'd share with you some of my fave clay projects over the years (many with video links!) for you to take back to your own Art Teacherin' Town. LOOOOOVE to hear your fave clay projects and words of wisdom. Please feel free to leave in el commentos below. 
This clay project was one that I did with my second graders FOR YEARS. They love it, it's a great way to introduce texture, slab, coil and glaze. It's also a quickie and with my short art classes, it worked very well. 
This was a fun project my third graders did one year. If you've taught clay before, then you've probably done the coils-in-a-styrofoam-bowl project (I know I have!) a different spin on that is having the kids use slabs of clay to create flowers. We had a spring theme one art show and these fit in beautifully. 
I almost always do a clay project that emphasizes texture with my kindergarteners. I'll share all of those projects...but this one is always a fave: texture butterflies
This is another kindergarten clay project with an emphasis on texture. This project is also shared in my clay book...but with homemade clay! 
These clay fish by my first graders always crack me up! They had so much fun creating the silly expressions on these a couple years ago. If every glaze is not an option, here is a fun alternative: florescent oil pastels and watered down black paint! 
Inspired by the painted elephants in India, my fourth graders created these fun guys one year. 
Funky frogs were created by my fourth graders one year. They had so much personality! This was a project we worked on over the course of a couple of art classes...which really allowed the kids to get creative. 
One year, to go along with our Asian theme, my fourth graders created these fun pandas. Each had their own wild and wacky personaltiy. 
To go along with that theme of Asia, my third grade kiddos created these Chinese dragons which they had a great time doing.
So I might have a thing for animals and clay...what do you think? My kindergarten and first graders created these pinch pot pets a couple of years back when our art show theme was to raise money for a local animal shelter. And, what do you know, animals are our theme again this year! 
That year, my second graders created this version of pinch pot pets: two pinch pots put together to create the body of their animal. 
And my fourth graders created these! Definitely a favorite by both me and the kiddos. 
Yet another spin on pinch pots and animals: using the pinch pot as a container. Our school mascot is the tiger and this particular year, second graders created tiger pinch pot containers
 Now last year, I decided to go for a food theme and create the art room into a 1950's style diner. These projects were not shared in detail like my others because...I was in the middle of writing my clay book and these projects are all featured in that book! The book is written to be used with no kiln fire clay...but, as you can see, you can use kiln fire clay as well. You can scoop up your book here
 My first graders served up these coffee and donut delights. 
 Second grade backed up cupcakes. Y'all better believe the retro lover in my totally enjoyed decorating for this art show!
 Third graders made hamburgers and fries...complete with all the fixin's. 
While others made pancake containers with hand painted paper plates. 
A kid and crowd favorite were the pie containers. The kids had so much fun googling pies and sculpting their favorite. 
While other classes did pizza containers. I reached out to a local pizza place for the boxes to display the pizza in. 
This year, we are back at it with an animal theme! We are transforming the art room into a pet shop. Third grade is in charge of the reptiles
Fourth grade had a blast creating these bobble head pets
But a crowd favorite so far are these fun and funky birds by second grade. They crack me up! 

Many more clay projects are coming up so stay tuned. However, if you just can't wait, you can see a handful of clay projects that have not been shared here but are on my YouTube channel. I always upload there first...so if you'd like to stay up to date, you might consider hitting subscribe. 
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