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Art teachers were STEAM-ing before STEAM was cool!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Big Mouth Critters

OK, so I've seen those clay critters on the internet where students make pinch pots and use those for the mouths of a critter frog, fish, beaver, monster, etc. They are CUTE and I knew I had to make them with my home school kids. They've been working so hard these past few weeks I wanted to treat them to some clay time!

What a cute doggie!

I showed the children examples of caricatures. We discussed why an artist would use that technique and compared real photos of people to caricature drawings of them. What a great conversation we had!

I don't have a kiln, so we used air dry clay for this project. The children seemed to have a great time making these! And I could see doing a variation of this for medieval gargoyles or for a fun nature project.

Here are some of my notes from this project:

  • I started by giving each child enough clay for a pinch pot only and walked them through the technique of making a pinch pot.
  • Then I gave each child another ball of clay (about the same size as the first) for their critters' features and limbs. This helped to ensure that the critters did indeed have a large mouth and the students were able to create the pinch pot--an integral part of the project.
  • Air dry clay works OK. I used Crayola brand with my students, but one bucket of clay was more moist than the other. I just had the kids knead the dry dough and work in a little water to make it more pliable. I used 2 five pound buckets of Crayola air dry clay for 12 critters.
  • I used a bit of the clay in some water to make slip (a slurry of clay and water used to attach clay pieces together). I demonstrated to the children how to "scratch and attach" the clay pieces such as eyeballs and legs to the pinch pot form. I gave each student a cotton swab and a toothpick for this.  Using this technique allows the pieces of air dry clay to fuse together better than just squeezing them together.
  • I brought in a hot glue gun the next week to attach any pieces that may have come off during drying. Most were pretty good.
  • We used acrylic craft paint to finish our critters. The colors are nice. Next time I might try finishing them with a varnish or clear coat to make them shiny.

We loved this project! Try it yourself (and send me pictures!!)!

Enjoy!
A bunny.

A turtle.


A "blood thirsty" beaver
(I'm not making this up!).

A frog and its dinner (a fly).

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