Faces of Earth: Children Work With Clay

Faces of Earth: Children Work With Clay

web4In an after-school enrichment class, children aged 6-11 were making projects inspired by the work of great artists. Through these projects, students learned about the artist and their style/s, art movements, how to work with various materials, and hopefully, how to use the work of a known artist as a jump-off point for their own.

web6In a Spanish language immersion school, we learned about Spanish-speaking artists, including Pablo Picasso  who was influenced by African art, and helped to create and launch the experimental movement of Cubism.

web2Students were taught to “pound out” or flatten their clay “chunks” into slabs, after forming them into loose balls.

web9They then developed their slabs into faces by shaping and texturing them, cutting pieces out, and adding to them using a “scoring” technique, so that the pieces added wouldn’t fall off when the clay began to dry. Well, a modified scoring technique, which included adding texture to the two pieces that were to be attached, and pressing them together to increase their bond.  This proved challenging for the children, as it was hard for them to understand why this was necessary.

web5Another challenge was how thin many of the pieces turned out to be. They are drying now, and I am extremely careful in moving them around, and turning them over, so all surfaces can dry. The students produced  highly fanciful, expressive and emotive works, qualities only intensified by the delicacy of some of them.

web7This young artist made the little figure on the face as a separate piece at first, but it was so thin and fragile I knew it would not survive. Luckily, she was happy to add it to her piece and play with surrealism and scale!

web3Día de Muertos, the Mexican holiday of “Day of the Dead” influenced the students’ work, as in this 6 year old’s tiny skeleton gracing the back of her mask. Again, this tiny figure was to fragile to stand on its own, so now it has become a part of Mia’s signature! 

web1     Skeletons, whether smoking a cigar or not, inspired the students, as did….

web8pumpkins!  This is one ferocious pumpkin face, and at least twice the size of most of the other pieces. The young artist got caught up in his work towards the end of the hour, and insisted on finishing all of the teeth, and details of they eyes. Now…what will he add to this piece this week, to finish it off?

What will each of the students do with paint, to complete their works?  Let’s hope all of the pieces dry, so we can find out!


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