Tuesday, May 26, 2015

2nd Grade Art Lesson: Glazing Clay

Two weeks ago my second grade art class created Whimsical Clay Castles and today we get to glaze them.
2nd Grade Art Lesson: Glazing Clay by A Crafty Arab

The kids were so excited to get their pieces and to see what a difference a firing in the kiln makes. Pieces that had been soft and gooey a few weeks ago are now solid and heavy.

Before we got started, I showed the kids a kiln shelf (seen above with my blog name on it) and explained the importance of not getting any glaze on it.  This meant that no glaze can be painted on the bottom of their base, nor on the side (just in case it melted).  If the glaze melts, the piece might stick to the shelf and will have to be broken off.  If any glaze did come accidently on the bottom or side of the base while they were painting, it can easily be washed off with a moist paper towel.

I gave each of them a porcelain plate so the glaze would not soak into a paper plate.  They were allowed as many colors as they wanted, but could only do one color at a time to make sure everyone gets started at the beginning.  They each also got paint brushes and little water containers for cleaning their brushes between colors.

Once everyone was finished, I had a parent volunteer paint each piece with a top coat for shine.  Then back in the kiln they go for another firing.

Come back in two weeks to see what comes out of the kiln!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

2nd Grade Art Lesson: Whimsical Clay Castles

Our school is very fortunate to own a kiln. I love taking advantage of this and enjoy ending the year of art with a clay project.

For my second grade class this year, they have been doing such a great job learning their seven elements of art: Color Form Line Shape Space Texture Value that ending the year with whimsical clay castle seemed very fitting.
2nd Grade Art Lesson: Whimsical Clay Castles

First we went over the Four Rules of Clay:

1. Have fun!
If the piece isn’t what you want it to be, start over! It’s important to not get frustrated while you’re working because clay is very forgiving.

2. Keep it wet!
Clay is made of mud and water. Your hands, and the air, will dry it out over time, so keeping it between two moist paper towels helps.

3. Work on the table, not on the paper plate.
Leave your base on the paper plate and try not to put too much pressure on it to make it thinner. Do any work, rolling, carving, writing, etc, on the table. Until the very end if you have to smooth or add details.

4. Glue Glue Glue Glue Glue (did I mention glue?)
Clay glue must be used when you are connecting two pieces to each other. First, scrape both surfaces, then wet finger in water and add to each side before adding the pieces to each other. Clean up any lines left behind with a tool or with your finger to help seal the joint.

I was very fortune to get the word out for volunteers in time and got a stellar cast of helpers for this project. They were able to flatten out a piece of clay that was approximately 1/8 inch thick as a base on a paper plate to give each student. They also helped make sure that unused clay stayed between two moist paper towels.

I gave the kids a choice of a castle gate made of a base, two towers and an arch, or a castle crenel tower made up of a base and coil shapes. Once again, I am blow away at their artistry:

Now everything goes in the kiln for the first firing!

See you in two weeks when we glaze!