Sunday, January 15, 2017

Clay Maracas


I'm busy working on the standards relating to utilitarian objects or functional art. I always try to emphasize the fun in functional art. With that in mind, the 3rd-5th are making clay maracas. We have already done weaving, you can check out the plastic bookmarks here.

Last year I did benches click here. And the year before that I did clocks, find it here. I have some plans for chairs and birdhouses in the near future.

The very basic directions for the clay maracas are to make two pinch pots, make little clay beads, (must use the word beads and not balls..... gotta love those 4th & 5th grade boys) wrap the beads in paper towels and place inside one of the pinch pots, score and slip edges of both pots and join them together.

When students finished, they were instructed to put them on a piece of paper with their name on it, on the back table. I would then write, with the point of a compass, their name and class code. I would also create the hole in the bottom for the air to escape from as they heat up in the kiln.

So for anyone curious as to what happens when you don't put that hole in it OR you thought you did but it created a dimple instead, it breaks! This was my first explosion and hopefully my last. I was glad to figure out what went wrong. (I did glue it back together and gave the student the choice to do it again or keep that one.)


My amazing students took it one step further and created all sorts of different shapes. They also added details with their new found knowledge of the score and slip trick. Some also learned what happens when you don't score and slip........ But that's what glue is for!

 The above student is in the middle of making an Eiffel Tower.

 We have a cube and a pumpkin.

I really had too many students doing this project for me to have them glaze them and re-fire them. So students first used crayons to color them and watercolor paint to fill in between crayon lines. Basically crayon resist.
 We have the Titanic and Pokemon.
 A fox and a cupcake.
An owl, a mountain and a ball.

There were so many interesting shapes and themes created. I know my students really enjoyed it.

If working with clay is new to you I found many wonderful videos online for making pinch pots and clay maracas-SO just Google away and have some fun!

I would love to know what lessons you have for teaching functional art!

Thanks for reading!!!












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