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!!)!

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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