Monday, April 24, 2017

In the Art Room: Exotic Birds UPDATE!

 I'm so excited to share with you just how amazingly awesome these exotic birds by my second graders turned out! If you subscribe to my YouTube channel, then you might already be familiar with this video lesson I created (and may have used it with your students!). I was uncertain how I wanted the kids to finish them off (to glaze or not to glaze). In the end, we went with this super fun florescent paint and metallic watercolor for the base. Here's the how-to video!
For our school-wide art show, our clay sculptures will be based on a pet shop theme with each grade level making animals, reptiles and fish for the occasion. Our theme last year was a 1950's diner where the kids all made food...after doing that fun theme, I wasn't sure if we were going to be able to top it. But these birds have certainly changed my mind about that! 

In the video, I use skewers as the legs but in the end, I was worried that they would not be strong enough to support the bird. So as the kids finished their birds and bases, I had them bring them to me. I used the skewer to write their name and class code on the bottom of each. Then I pushed popsicle sticks into the bottom of the bird and the base just to make sure they would work together. After the kids left, I removed the sticks, wiggling them back and forth. I did this because I know that clay shrinks as it dries. I then allowed the clay projects to dry for a week or more. 
 Last week, the kids got their birds and bases back and were given bright colors of paint and plenty of visuals to work from. I gently suggested that they might want to make them look like parrots or toucans...but I also wanted them to explore the idea of creating their own idea of an exotic bird. Once the paint was dry, I hot glued the sticks to both the birds and the bases (I had used the stick to add the holes into both before firing). Sparkle ModPodge was added to the finished birds because...SPARKLE MODPODGE. Need I say more?
 Today, the kids were given sparkle pipe cleaners, feathers (both of which were found at the Dollar Tree) and beads from my unending supply of beads (seriously...do they multiply?!). I gave them a couple of tips on how to twist the 'cleaner and add the feathers...and then just let them go to town. 
 They had a blast and are just so super proud of their birds!
 I suggested folding the pipe cleaners in half, adding beads if desired and bending the 'cleaners into spirals. Of course, their fave part was digging through the treasures on their tables...
Once complete, they brought their birds to me where I hot glued their feathers and pipe cleaners into place. I found this great resource and asked the kids to do a little bit of research on their birds before our short 30 minutes was up. I borrowed some books from the library to help them with that task. Tomorrow, they'll continue writing, add an illustration and learn even more about exotic birds. 
 Now that we are closing in on the art show and the end of the school year, I don't plan on doing too many more projects with these guys. We do have this project to finish up next week...but after that, we'll be working on decorating the art room for the art show! 
 I love all of the creativity that went into these birds! They were colorfully beautiful before...and now they are just fantastic. 
Teaching clay is one of my all time favorite things because the kids absolutely LOVE it! Ask them what their favorite medium is and it is always clay. I haven't been able to share some of my fave clay projects with you as they are in THE BOOK and, therefore, owned by the publisher. I was so excited last week to get my copy of it! 
Almost all of the projects in the book (with the exceptions of the edible clay {yes, there is an edible clay project!}) can also be created with kiln-fired clay. So it's perfect for those with or without a kiln...really anyone who wants to explore clay with kids! 

And, in case you are a little intimidated by clay...OR just want a reason to play with the stuff yourself, you might want to join in on my FREE clay workshop! I'll be hosting it on my Facebook page every Wednesday night LIVE for about an hour. I'll be working with Celluclay, air dry clay and plaster wrap. You can use whatever supplies you have on hand OR you can purchase a kit of the supplies to explore and create along with me (and many others!):
I cannot wait. Craft nights on Facebook LIVE have been so much fun!
 And, stay tuned...I'm unloading that kiln daily and the clay projects coming out of it have just been so fun to see. I find myself scrambling to get to school just to peak inside. 
Here is an accurate portrayal of my face when doing so, ha! Y'all have a great week!

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10 comments:

  1. These look so fun!! Are there any air dry clay projects in your book? Or adaptation suggestions?

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    1. The book is divided into three parts: Air Dry Clay projects, Polymer Clay projects and homemade clay recipes and projects!

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  2. Do you pick a theme for your art show or is it a school wide thing?

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  3. How much clay do you think each bird took?

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  4. We used fancy pencils for legs once with similar clay birds - just another option for you.

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  5. How many days did you spend on creating the bird and feet/base? I know your class times are shorter... I'm imagining a lot of rushing to get all that done in one 44 minute session. Would love to dream that it'd be smooth sailing and we could get it done in one, but... ya know.

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  6. Could you make a project like this bird with air dry clay?

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  7. What brand of clay did you use? I just used an air dry clay from Hobby Lobby and it was super brittle. Parts were falling off just with the kids painting them. I want to do this again because it was so much fun and they are stinking adorable!!!

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  8. Love what you're doing here guys, keep it up!..
    מדביר

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  9. Have you heard of Thomas Hill of San Francisco who makes bird sculptures of wire, wood, and metal. He has awesome colorful, big eyed quirky birds that would be an awesome companion to this work. http://zoneonearts.com.au/thomas-hill/

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