I found this brilliant project on the Blick Video Lesson Plans. It’s a great site to get arty inspiration.
I began by talking about Pop Art and Andy Warhol’s screen prints of celebrities. Luckily, I have a few books on the subject, so I brought them into to the studio to show the students. The week before, I had taken headshots of the children and had the images photocopied and ready to use.
The photocopied headshot images measured 16cms x 12cms. We found that it was best to roll out the clay (to a depth of about 1cm) in advance, cover with cling film to stop it drying out and setting it to one side whilst getting on with the image preparation.
With a gel pen, outline the facial features but keep your lines clean and simple. It’s also a good idea to outline the bounding box, you will cut along this line and use as a template to cut the clay to the correct size. Your clay tile will be the same size as your image.
The next step is to place your image print side down on the clay and gently smooth/rub your hand over it. The gel pen should transfer onto the clay after about 30 seconds, we found this was a bit hit and miss. The most effective way to transfer your image is to go over the outline on the back (you should be able to see the black gel pen through the paper) with a pen or pencil, this way the gel pen outline transfers to the clay.
To cut your clay tile out, use a ruler or blunt knife to slice away the excess clay around your image. Now you can remove the paper image.
Using a clay ribbon tool or toothpick/old pen etc carefully carve into the black outline transfer. Blick suggest covering the tile with cling film plastic then carving into the clay for a clean line. We actually forgot to do this bit! Now is the time to make two small holes in the top corners for the hanging loop to pass through.
Once your image is in the clay, carefully lift the tile (try not to distort it), use a little water on your finger to smooth the rough edges around the tile.
Place your tile on a piece of cardboard to dry thoroughly. Once dry, lightly sand any rough areas before painting.
Choose a limited palette of bright colours and paint black into the carved clay outlines to make your image ZING! Sadly I don’t have many photos of the finished tiles as I handed them back to students to take home before taking photos, DOH!