Wednesday, May 6, 2015

In the Art Room: First Grade Slab Fish and Under the Sea Sculptures

If you've been a-thinkin' that there's something fishy about this here blog post, you are correct, friend! My first grade friends just finished off these hilariously expressive fish and I just can't stop lookin' -n- laughin' at 'em. They have just as much silliness as the wee artists that created them. This was a fun 30 minute art class project that I know your kids would love to do so I just had to share it with y'all!
To start, every kid was given a grapefruit-ish sized piece of clay. I use cone 06 clay and I love it. I had a little selection of doilies, burlap an textured fabrics on each table for the kids to use as the "scales" of their fishy friend. 
The clay was then annihilated by the pounding fists of the first grade set. Our rule is pound it as flat as a cookie but no more. I also chat with them about how the clay should be level like a plain. There should be no peaks or valleys. Once it's smooth-ish, they peal it away from the fabric to reveal the texture underneath...
 Which always gets a multitude of Oooooh's and AAAAaaaah's. 
Once the fabric is pealed away, the clay is then cut into a circle shape. I had coffee lids for the kids to trace.
The excess clay trimmed off was then used for the whites of the fishes eyes. Two spheres were rolled and then flattened for this part. 

 In my art room, we use the terms "slip and score" but an old ratty toothbrush is used for the job of scoring. 
 Boom, two eyes. 
Smaller spheres for the pupils. AND just in case any of the clay is too thick, we used the back of our skewer stick to poke two pupils in the iris. 
 For the mouth, we rolled a coil.
 With both the eyes and mouth, we talked about expression. So, your fish could be surprised...
 Or fishy-mouthed...
 Or happy with a touch of possible constipation. It's up to you!
Next up, we pounded another piece of clay flat onto a texture. I love how this photo looks like my fish is eyeballing the clay as if it were a cookie. 
 Cut in half...
Now use one piece as the tail and the other as the fin!
Cut out a section for the top fin and, viola! Fishy is finished!
Once out of the kiln, these lil guys were given color with bright oil pastels. Then they were dipped into a bath of watery ink (although watery tempera would work as well)...
 And, ta-da! Seriously, aren't these little guys a total crack up?!
Since the kids didn't exactly experience sculpting with this slab clay project, I thought I'd introduce them to this art form another way. I picked up some pink insulation foam from the local hardware store that I scored and broke into pieces. 
This project was a great review of abstract, line names and sculpture. Each child had so much fun with their creation and I loved how fun and funky each turned out.
Each compliments it's fish so nicely. This is definitely a project I'll be doing again. Hope you will give it a go as well. Smell y'all later! 

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12 comments:

  1. These are so cute and look like so much fun!

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    1. Thank you! They are super cute and super crazy looking. Kinda like the kids ;)

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  2. I've never seen ink and pastels used on sculpture, what a great painting alternative. :)

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    1. OH, I'm addicted! You can use crayons too...but the oil pastels seem to really pop. I've also used watered down tempera paint for the dunking bath. :)

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  3. I've never seen ink and pastels used on sculpture, what a great painting alternative. :)

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  4. I have no kiln. Have you ever used flour/salt dough? B.P.

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  5. Great lesson and thanks for sharing! What kind of doilies do you use?

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    1. Hi Sarah! I use any doilies I can find...I like the thick crochet'ed looking ones but also delicate lace works well too. What does not work are the plastic doilies as they stick to the clay projects! Hope that helps!

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  6. I love these fish!!! You are amazing. We have a very limited budget...and no kiln. If I use Amaco Marblex A-25 self hardening clay will this work? and can you please explain the dunking watery bath for me. Than you!!

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    1. Hi Lisa! Self-harding clay would work fine. I've not used it with children but have used it plenty in my personal crafting. It does dry out quickly so this would have to be a one-day clay activity. If you do the dunking, be sure to test it out on your own first. The air dry clays can often be more fragile than kiln fired...I'd have for the kids to accidentally break their clay while coloring with oil pastels. Instead, you might want to consider tempera paints with a coat of ModPodge over that to seal and protect. I hope that helps!

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  7. I love these fish!!! You are amazing. We have a very limited budget...and no kiln. If I use Amaco Marblex A-25 self hardening clay will this work? and can you please explain the dunking watery bath for me. Than you!!

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