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Wednesday 12 August 2015

Using Clay

Children love clay- but it always ends up being a lesson based on product. They finish a nice 'piece' and ask when they will be allowed to bring it home.

I think there is a place for 'product', children feel that sense of achievement to complete something. But they also need to embrace the process, unfortunately, clay doesn't really allow for this as it dries so quick.

One way of addressing this is to let the children practice moulding in plasticine. I use this every day with my first class anyway. It is great for developing hand muscles and by having some craft tools on hand they can get very creative with it!

When the children do get clay to mould- it is important that they touch it as little as possible. The heat of their hands will dry it out.

Clay lessons begin at basic level of rolling into a ball, pinching and making bowls.

Marks and texture can be added by using clay tools, pencils, lollipop sticks and other craft tools.

When a child needs to stick two pieces of clay together, it is important that they do this through the scouring and slip method.
'Scour' criss cross marks on the two sides of the clay you want to stick together. Spread 'Slip' on the side and stick together. Smooth the edges. Another option is to use a small amount of water instead of slip (on wet clay). Put a drop of water in a jam jar lip to ensure the children don't go overboard with water!

'Slip'- mix 1 part of clay to 3 parts of water in a container. Blend with a kitchen blender- it will have a soft, melting ice-cream, soft butter texture. This can be sealed and used again at a later date.

After the clay has been painted/decorated, paint with PVA glue. It will be a milky colour, but will dry clear to give the piece a nice glossy finish.

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