SchoolArts Magazine

February 2015

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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schoolartsonline.com 25 fishbowls. The additional pieces were carefully placed on top of the slabs and left unattached. When the clay was completely dry, the slabs with the pieces on top were bisque fired in the kiln. Painting with Underglaze Color underglazes work well for young students because, unlike glazes, they are the same color before and after firing. Leaving the clay pieces unat- tached made it easy for students to apply the underglaze. To demonstrate the water level in a fishbowl, I filled one about three- quarters full with water and explained that since the fish would be three- dimensional and stand out from the slabs after being attached, all sides of the individual fish needed to be painted. Students had no trouble painting around each little fish, piece of seaweed, and shell. After rolling their slabs and writ- ing their names in the center with a needle tool, students flipped the slabs over to keep them from sticking to the work surface. Next, they trans- ferred their drawings by laying them on top of the slabs and going over the lines with pencils, making very slight indentations in the clay. Needle tools were then used to cut along the indented lines. Two holes sev- eral inches apart were put in the top of each fishbowl to be used for hanging. I covered the slabs carefully with plastic wrap and dried them slowly to keep them from warping. Filling the Fishbowls Reflecting on our trip to the aquar- ium, it was obvious that students were impressed by the variety of fish. They were amazed by the many types of fins, beautiful colors, and delight- ful patterns. Using both the pinch and coil methods, students made enough sea life—including sea- weed and shells—to fill their C lay, with its tactile nature and incredible flexibility, is the most popular medium in my artroom. Students first use the pinch method to create animals, dinosaurs, and pottery, then learn the coil method to make pots that grow with undulating sides. The third method of slab-building, however, can be chal - lenging for young stu- dents. The process of joining the slabs and keeping them from splitting when fired in the kiln can be quite complex, so I tried to think of a way to avoid this issue. A class trip to the local aquarium gave me an idea: All three methods of working with clay could be combined to make simple slab fishbowls filled with underwater creatures. Constructing Fishbowl Plaques I began the lesson by showing stu- dents an actual fishbowl. Holding up an empty fishbowl, I traced my finger around its edge to point out that the contour line included the lip, or top edge; and the foot, or bottom edge. Students then drew the shape of a fishbowl on 9 x 12" (23 x 30 cm) paper, making sure that it was large enough to hold lots of sea life. I demonstrated how to make a slab by rolling a grapefruit-sized ball of clay from the center out. I lifted the rolling pin and returned to the center, rolling towards myself using the same pressure. These steps were repeated as the slab was rotated, increasing the pressure gradually until all sections of the slab were about a half-inch thick. Early Childhood Studio Lesson IN THE SWIM Julie Voigt Reflecting on our trip to the aquarium, it was obvious that students were impressed by the variety of fish. Hannah. Taylor. Continued on page 43.

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