Posts Tagged ‘clay’


This art project was linked to KS2 Rivers. Primary school students were learning about rivers in Geography and I was asked to compliment this with an art project.

I decided that we would make clay ‘portrait’ miniatures. The Victoria & Albert Museum have a few on display and I always admired them. When Grayson Perry made the ‘The Earl of Essex’ miniature for his ‘Who Are You?’ exhibition, as part of a Channel Four programme, I really wanted students to have a go at making them.

Students were asked to research animals and plants that make their home in or by British rivers. They had to choose their favourite and paint it on their clay miniature. The Kingfisher was the most popular by far!

Hopefully the ‘how to make’ photos below are self explanatory.

Tips: I cut oval templates for students to use as a size guide.

To get clay to adhere to clay, you need to make slip. Mix some clay with water until it is like thick cream. Roughen up the surface of the two pieces of clay to be stuck together, apply some slip and use a small tool or finger to blend ‘touching edges’ together.

While the clay is still soft, press a wire hanging loop into the back of the miniature. We bent wire around a chunky marker pen to create a loop. If you bend 5mm of the wire ends 90 degrees, this will help stop the wire from dislodging from the clay when hanging.

We used gesso to undercoat the flat oval surface in preparation for painting. If you don’t have gesso, just use white water based paint.

Here are some of the finished miniatures. To complete the look, like Grayson Perry’s ‘The Earl Of Essex’, we tied a bow around the hanging loop.


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Monday and Tuesday, the young artists applied the clay and began creating their sculptured heads. Imaginations were fired up and it wasn’t long before the sculptures had important features –  including arms and legs!

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The Armatures

This week the art club began making armatures, the supports for the clay heads that they will begin to sculpt next week. Newspaper is screwed up and taped to the stand, creating the head shape. When the desired shape was achieved, the children mummified it using masking tape.

This week it was also my job to introduce a group of years 3/4 to the art of repeat patterns. I decided to let them design their own wallpaper. They drew a design on a piece of A4 paper, I sliced it and repositioned the pieces for them using tape. They then photocopied the design 4 times, once all the pieces are lined up and taped, Hey Presto! Your wallpaper is complete. The kids really enjoyed this activity. Will post some photos asap.

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Happy New Year to you. As you can see from the photo, the view from the Art Cabin’s window is very pretty, but enough is enough! We want the snow to go now.

The Art Cabin Club got straight into clay on Monday and Tuesday, and boy, do children love it! Pure and simple messing about with shapes, textures and clay tools.

The plan is to first create an armature out of wood & paper to support the clay sculpture of an head. The children have the choice to use their imagination to create their sculpture or base their idea on someone. It will be an interesting project, as one child shouted “I’m going to create an Alien Grandad Monster”.

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