This coming Thursday I have agreed to do a project with some second graders at a local school. My initial plans were altered as I started to think about the logistics of directing 60 or 70 kids in one project. I don't want the project to be so complicated that the students will get lost or frustrated. I won't be able to directly assist all the students or correct individual mistakes, so I need to make the project simple enough for the kids to follow and do with little assistance.
|turtle "rattle" made as a test of the methods I plan to use|
|woman whose skirt is a rattle, also made as a test|
|start with a ball of clay (two, actually)|
|flatten the first ball of clay|
squish together any cracks or irregular edges so they are flat and round
create a pinch pot with a second ball of clay, squeezing the clay at the bottom first
score the edges of the base and the pinch pot
make balls of clay and (optional) wrap them in toilet paper
|poke a hole in the base (now or later)|
The little rattling balls of clay are put in the middle of the flat piece of clay. Students need to slip the attachment by adding water or, preferably slip (watery clay) to the seam. I recommend the kids put slip on the edge of the pinch pot so that they aren't too messy with the slip. I also recommend slip rather than water because students (and teachers) can see the slip better and know that the whole piece of clay won't be getting soggy.
|add slip (watered down clay) to scored edges|
The pinch pot is pushed onto the flat base, trapping the little balls of clay inside. A little pressure will help keep the pinch pot attached to the base. A little slip may squeeze out the edges. It can be wiped away. Excess clay can also be trimmed away if the base is too wide.
|place the pinch pot on the base, lining up the scored edges and trapping the clay bits inside|
As I was making a couple test pieces, I was concerned that the project might still be too difficult for such a large group of students. I don't have regular access to dozens of second graders, but I do have access to one preschooler, so I brought my daughter into the studio to try the project. I figured if one preschooler could do the project without help, then 70 second graders could do it with minimal help. Also, I hear second graders can read and follow multi-step directions, so I plan to bring pages for each table that show step by step illustrated directions of the process.
|it's a good idea to work on paper|
|score the edges using a needle too, toothpick or scoring tool|
|add slip with a brush, don't get slip on the clay balls or in the middle of the base|
|put the two pieces together. it doesn't have to look perfect so long as it sticks|
My daughter was able to make the form. She had the most trouble with the pinch pot, but I didn't need to take it away or have her start over again. Of course my daughter couldn't resist decorating her rattle. She added a body and arms, decorated with a clay stamp and drew in a face. Her piece wasn't as round as mine, but she was able to make a passable pinch pot without my assistance and all her attachments were strong. Her piece will not explode during firing, since she put a hole in the base when she was almost done.
|scratching in the face|
|adding the air hole|