Monday, March 27, 2017

In the Art Room: Clay Chameleons!

If you follow me on Instagram, then you've seen me over-sharing all of the clay projects that my kiddos will be creating during Clay Week. I like to go with a theme when it comes to clay as that makes the art show seem cohesive. Last year, we went with the clay theme of a 1950's Diner where all the kids created clay food. It was a big hit and a whole lot of fun. 

This year, I decided to go with a Pet Shop theme! You can actually view all of the clay videos I've created for my students right here (and feel free to use them). I add new art teacherin' videos every week so if it's something that you are interested in, you might want to subscribe.

Today, my third grade students watched this video in bite-sized pieces and were able to create their chameleon from start to finish. We did use up more than our normal hour long art class...thankfully, I have a plan time after this class and the teachers were kind enough to let me use some of their instructional time for the kids to finish. I work with some super supportive folks, y'all! Otherwise, this project would have taken us about an hour and a half.
I get a lot of questions on how I show my students my videos because they are pretty long. I don't show the video in it's entirety as that would be too much information for the kids to process. Instead, I show bite-sized portions. Then I send the kids to their seats to work. When a handful of them have finished and trickled back to the floor, then I call all of them to join us, finished or not, and we watch the next portion. For these guys that meant they learned how to make a leaf and then created it; came back to learn about how to make the body and legs of the chameleon and created it; and finally, they learned how to create the head and attach to the leaf. This keeps us up, active, busy and working the entire time. 
Have I told y'all lately that I wrote a clay book? You can scoop it up for preorder right here. When I first became an art teacher some 18 odd years ago, I'd never even taken a ceramics class. And yet...my first year teaching, clay was in my curriculum. With no kiln and a small budget, I had to create clay for my kids to use. Without much info online at the time, I scoured the public library for recipes and ideas. I learned many recipes and included them in the book. In fact, all of the projects in the book are made with no-kiln clays...but have been tested out with kiln fire clay. So it's for everyone!
Working on a book filled with 52 projects meant that I had to dream up, snap photos of and write about, well, 52 projects. Y'all, that's a lot! I learned many a thing working on that book...and I believe it has made me a better clay teacher. 
If you find clay to be intimidating as I once did, I have a surprise for you! I'm going to be offering a Crash Course in Clay here during the month of May! Follow me on Facebook and I'll keep you posted on the details. Here's a peek at how I set my tables up for clay: doggie bowls for water (from the Dollar Tree and they NEVER spill!), toothbrushes for scoring, skewers for carving, cutting and creating design, clay mats (which I have had for well over 10 years) from my friend Danielle McDanielle, aka The Clay Lady, usually lots of texture tools and sponges for wiping hands when they start to feel too dry. What do you keep on hand during clay time?
Oh! And I busted out the marker caps to make these fun eyes for the chameleons.
I'm thinking we will glaze these after firing. I hope I have some room in my budget to splurge on the glaze with the flecks of glass in it. I think that would be perfect for these little guys. I'll be sure to do a follow-up post once complete. 
I've tried many a thing when it comes to finishing clay projects: gouache, oil pastel and dip in black tempera and glaze. Which is your preferred method? 
By the way, this clay project could just as easily be done with air dry clay! You'll have to keep me posted if you give it a go. 
 photo signature_zpsd10b3273.png

6 comments:

  1. These look awesome! What grade did you do these with? Love the textures they created with the skewers! Can't wait to see them finished!

    ReplyDelete
  2. These look awesome! What grade did you do these with? Love the textures they created with the skewers! Can't wait to see them finished!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anonymous3/28/2017

    What kind of clay do you use? I've never worked with clay and am trying to learn all about it to use in my classes. Thank you for your very helpful videos!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Oh, I think this will be my favorite!

    ReplyDelete
  5. nice artwork done by the artist with clay, I know its really really tough to make the design like this

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi Cassie, we tried these at home today with air drying clay. Your video was very accessible for my five and seven year-old. You explained the different steps so well: they followed you making their carrot shapes, LOVED making the tails, the stumpy legs needed a bit of help, adding the texture with a skewer worked really well, but the heads would have to be the BEST. I couldn't believe how differently they interpreted the head instructions and how much personality they gave their little creatures. Their chameleons are super cute! We live in a town that is pretty remote so I feel like your blog has just given my kids the gift of an interesting and engaging art teacher. Thank you so much for the time you devote to it.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you so much for your comments. I appreciate each and every one :)