Sunday, October 11, 2015

Clay Heads

Having never made a life sized clay head myself, I was a little apprehensive about assigning it to my students. But with the thanks of YouTube and a little playing around, I managed to get the courage. I had students start with with a ball of newspaper, with a little newspaper roll or empty paper towel roll attached to the bottom. Then we made slabs of clay to wrap around the bottom for a solid neck and then  more for the head.

A line of symmetry helps provide guides for where the eyes, nose, and mouth should go.
Then, clay is added and shaped in those areas. The hair is the crowning touch. Even students with cognitive impairments can pinch and place little pieces of clay, or roll coils for braids and dread locks.
Once it looks finished, we slice the top of the head off with a wire cutter, to remove the newspaper. One problem we found was that the clay was still too soft. I was taking some of the students on a multiple-day field trip, so I was trying to fit a week-long assignment into 3 days. A few of the heads started to collapse. It's better for the clay to be almost leather hard before taking this step.

We smoothed out the inside and then slipped and scored to rejoin the top of the noggin.

Then we bisque fired the pieces. 

Some of the heads were painted with acrylics and a few of them sold at a silent auction fund raiser. Others were glazed. I think the students really enjoyed this project and I love that little their personality comes through with each face.Students glazed or painted their pieces

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