Showing posts with label clay lab. Show all posts
Showing posts with label clay lab. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

In the Art Room: Salt Dough Sunflowers!

Here's a way to introduce your kiddos to clay even if you don't have a kiln: Salt Dough Clay! Last summer, when I was writing my book Clay Lab for Kids, I had to come up with kid-friendly clay recipes. You see, the book is divided into three parts: projects created with air dry clays available at craft stores; polymer clay projects and clay projects created with homemade clays. There are several clay recipes in my book (including an edible clay!) and this salt dough clay is one of my favorites. Here's how to make it and create a Salt Dough Sunflower (a project not found in my book, just for you!):
Here's the recipe which would be enough clay to create a half dozen flowers:
(Allergy warning! If you are allergic to gluten, this is not the project for you.)

* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/2 cup salt
* 3/4 cup water

Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl. Dump out ingredients onto wax paper or plastic and continue to knead until a soft dough forms. When creating, be sure to work on a plastic covered surface as this stuff is sticky! Also, when making this flower, use a styrofoam bowl or a bowl covered in plastic wrap so that the flower pops out easily when dry. 

Also, any clay not used, simply wrap in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for later use. 
I placed my flower in front of a fan to dry overnight. Just so you know: this is a dough so it will rise a bit! Don't be surprised if your flower looks a little fluffy once dry. 

Salt dough can also be cured by baking in the oven at 200. Keep an eye on it as the goal is simply to dry it out, not burn it. I have cooked mine for 15-30 minutes depending on the dampness of the clay. 

I painted my flower with acrylic paint but tempra could also be used. Be sure to cover with a coat of ModPodge to insure that it will not break. 
If you don't subscribe already, I update my YouTube channel with videos like this and all things art teachery pretty frequently. You are always welcome to use my videos and lessons...I just always appreciate a shout out. 

In other news, I'll be presenting at Art Ed NOW on August 3rd on...you guessed it, all things clay! I'll be sharing a TON of no-kiln clay projects for the elementary and middle school set. 

And if you've picked up my clay book and you have a spare moment, a review here would be so very much appreciated. Thank you so much, y'all!

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Sunday, May 21, 2017

In the Art Room: Art Show 2017, 3-D Displays

Welcome to the 3-Dimensional display of the Johnson Elementary Art Show! Our annual art show showcases all of the artwork that each of our young artists create throughout the school year. In this blog post, I'll be sharing all of the 3-D work that was displayed in my room...but stay tuned! A post about the incredible 2-D display is up next. This art show is a HUGE undertaking as we share all of the efforts of every student. An art show like this would not be possible without the help of some truly AMAZING moms that spend more hours than you could imagine making the art show a memorable one for our artists. I cannot thank them enough...y'all are truly incredible!

All of the projects you'll see here are ones that were created by my students while viewing the how-to videos I created for them. I'll be adding those videos for you here. Feel free to use them in your art room! I'll be adding more videos like these over the summer so you might want to subscribe to stay tuned. But enough about that, let's take a tour of the Johnson Elementary Art Show 2017, 3-D Displays!
I hope you liked the tour. If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments! 
This project was a hit with the kids...and one that my current third graders are asking if they will get to do next year. I had several kiddos sewing at home and bringing in the pillows and monsters they had created there. It was so fun to teach them this life skill. Here is the video they viewed:
Their creativity really blew me away. By the way, if you teach a fourth grader how to make a pom-pom, it can be a dangerous thing.
By the way, y'all know that big bunned monster is my #lifegoals, right?!
This display is one of my faves. It showcased the sculptural work of my kindergarten, second and third grade students. My kindergarten kids created the monarch butterflies:
That was a one-day project that the kids really enjoyed. 
 My P.E. buddy Ali Starkweather painted the rainforest backdrop that you see. Isn't it amazing? It went so well with the theme of our exotic birds and reptiles! 
 Let's talk about these clay projects. The third graders created these clay chameleons which were one of my faves. 
We used a combo of Mayco's Stroke and Coat glazes and their Jungle Gems for a speckled look. 
 I really stressed a three coat minimum for glazing and I think that's why the kids were so successful in having such beautifully glazed pieces. They take so much pride in their clay work that I usually don't have to ask them to redo...they are dedicated to making them awesome!
Also on display were these birds. Y'all, these were the comedic hit at the show, they are so fun and funny. They really came to life when the kids painted them and added the feathers and beads. Here is the video lesson:

A couple of my kindergarten classes had extra days with clay so we made a second clay project: these turtles! Their other project was hung in the hallway, I'll be sure to share that with you in the following blog post. 
Those turtles were super fun to create...I loved seeing the glaze effects on the texture. 
The first graders created the most incredible fish so they needed a sweet display to show them off. The kids created the painted bubble paper hat covered the tables. 
 For these, the fish were glazed but the bases were painted with metallic watercolor. Here's the lesson video:
My second graders had just completed their ceiling tile project and had traced templates for that project. I had 65 templates...so, instead of throwing them away, I had the kids paint them as their last project.  
We hung them above the first grade fish! Here's the video used for the ceiling tile project:
These might be my favorite ceiling tiles to date! 
For the fourth grade bobble heads, these were displayed on my counter. I covered my cabinets with white paper and works of art by both kindergarten and second grade. 
Um, that one has a top hat, a bowtie and a monocle. Perfection. Video here:
This is another project I think my younger kids are gonna wanna create. These were so fun! 
I love all the extra cat bowls for this one!
On the cabinets, the kinders created the Arlo Needs Glasses paintings and the second graders did the black glue and chalk fish. Here are the videos:
The kids loved this project!
Sandra Silberzweig is a favorite artist of mine...and my students. 
On another set of tables covered in pink, my fourth graders had their plaster candy hearts on display. 
Also featured on the pink paper were the plaster candies that my third graders created...they really looked good enough to eat!
 Puffy paint for the win, y'all. 
The days following the art show, I invite the classroom teachers to bring their students during my planning time. Together, we teachers work in an assembly line wrapping clay projects, stuffing them into the bags and stapling the labels on top while the kids wait on the floor. It usually takes about 7 minutes to get a class done. The kids then take their 3-D work home safely. 

Stay tuned for the what's up next: a post and video of our 2-D work...until then, here's a tour of last year's 3-D display, enjoy!

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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

In the Art Room: Clay Chameleons, Update Part 2

Y'all. When I opened the kiln this morning (which I had no right doing as that big ole lug was still flashing 600 degrees), I let out a squeal. Who snuck into the art room and put a bunch of cute-ified chameleons in my kiln?! I mean, really. Can you even handle...THIS?
 I know I can't. I'm so excited to share these with the kids next week. Their hard work sculpting and glazing paid off. Here's the video that I created to teach my sweet third graders this fun lesson:
The kids have loved this lesson! Having taught art (and clay!) for nearly 20 years, I've learned a thing or two along the way. My biggest tip for those working with kiln-fire clay: LET THE FINISHED PIECES DRY FOR LONGER THAN YOU'D EVER IMAGINE.
I was always led to believe that the reason clay exploded in the kiln (and I've had my share of 'splosions) was because of air bubbles. I call baloney on that theory. The reason there are explosions is: the clay is still WET. I allow my clay projects to dry in the kiln room which is both hot (due to the kiln) and well ventilated (as they should be) for TWO WEEKS. That's right, you heard me. Here's the deal: if there are any water molecules in the clay, as they are heated up in the kiln, they begin to move, faster and faster, until they cause an explosion. However, if you wait...every last one of those water molecules will evaporate and diminish your chance of breakage. One way to test and see if greenware (unfired clay) is ready to be fired? Touch it. If it feels damp, even slightly, it is still holding water and needs to dry.

The problem is...if your students' clay projects are thick (and some of these chameleons were very thick!) there might be water trapped within the clay project that you cannot feel with touch. My suggestion? Fire on the slowest setting possible. This will help air out the clay before ramping up to firing mode. 

In other words: When in doubt, DRY IT OUT. 

Can someone please help me off this firing soap box?! It's hot up here!
Now, when it comes to glazing, that's a whole 'nother story. Glazed pieces can be fired on the fastest setting as they have already been fired once and are not going to explode. In case you are curious, I use Cone 06 clay and glaze. 
 I don't always glaze with my students. After all, two firings is super time consuming. However, I do think that the glazing experience is important for kids to be exposed to at least once. It's truly magical. Imagine: little pieces of glass that are going to transform your dull clay project into a shining, sparkling masterpiece!
My favorite glazes are Mayco's Stroke and Coat. I love their color variety. I did order some of their Jungle Gems to add a bit of spots and sparkle to their projects...and I was a touch disappointed. I don't think I shook the bottles up enough because I don't see too much of the spotted and speckled effect. Perhaps my next crop of chameleons will be more speckled as their glaze is near the bottom of the bottle where all the glass has settled. 
 Oh! And if you follow me here...you might have seen that I received a copy of my book
This lesson is NOT featured in my book...which is why I can share it and the video for free with you here. Many of the project directions from last year's art show were not shared here...because I was under contract with the book publisher. Little known fact: when you are writing a book, they "own" the rights to your ideas! All that to say...all of the lessons I share in the book have not been released here. So 52 NEW art projects for you and your kiddos...that can be used with both no-kiln and kiln-fired clays! 
 ALSO...in case you didn't know, I've been hosting weekly #creatingwithcassie craft nights right here. Currently, we are felting but next month, we are exploring clay! 
If you'd like to join the fun and explore some fun new materials, pick up your clay kit here...no kiln required! 
 Now...this is just the beginning of clay themed posts as I've declared the month of May, the month of CLAY! So brace yourself...lots of clay posts ahead!
Until then!

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Thursday, February 16, 2017

In the Art Room: I WROTE A BOOK!




I know I've mentioned this before...but now I can finally make it official because IT'S FINISHED! Guyz, I WROTE A BOOK! 
I still cannot believe it. In fact, I don't think I'll actually believe it until I have a hard copy in my hands. The book is not due to come out until mid-May but it is available for preorder on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, and Indigo. It is so surreal to see my name pop up on these sites!

What will you find in this book? 52 CLAY PROJECTS, Y'ALL. Clay that does not require kiln fire. The purpose of this book is to give kids the opportunity to explore creating homemade clays, store-bought air dry clay, paper clay, oven baked clays...you name it, I tried it out in this book. Writing this book, I approached it from an art teacher standpoint: would my students enjoy these clay projects? If you recall my 1950's diner-themed art show last year, then you actually got a glimpse of several projects in the book. For our art show, we used kiln-fired clay which means that the projects in the book are versatile enough to be used with just about any kind of clay you have available. It's a book for those who wish to explore clay with children regardless as to whether or not one has a kiln!

So, how did writing this book come to be? It all started last November. A lovely editor at Quarry books reached out to me and simply asked me if I'd be interested in writing a book. She had seen this Sculpey creation and this paper clay pumpkin and was curious to know if I had more up my sleeve. I'm not even gonna lie: I was so flattered to be asked to write a book that I immediately agreed before discovering that I'd be dreaming up, writing about and taking step-by-step photos of 52 clay projects. 


It wasn't until last February that the paperwork was signed and I was on the hook to write a book. And that's when reality set in. True Confession: I'm a BIG TIME procrastinator. And there ain't no procrastinating when it comes to book writing. There were several deadlines throughout that I had to meet which was a good thing as it kept me working...but it was tough because I had to give up precious time to do so. I spent weekends and nearly the entire month of June in my pj's from morning til night sculpting in clay, snapping a picture, sculpting a little more and snapping another picture. That part was fun. It was the writing the steps out that was more tedious. I mean, I write all the time on this here blog but I write in a very casual tone. I had to sound all legit and professional and yet kid-friendly and such for the book. Thankfully, I was working with wonderful editors who helped tremendously.

June 30th was my final deadline. I made it...and might I add on June 29th. Whew! Snapping hundreds of photos and editing them, writing endless pages of copy and doing rewrites...it all made me seriously consider my life's choices. My husband's favorite question was, "Well, do you regret saying yes?" that answer varied from day to day during the course of the creating. But now I can say Nope! I don't regret it a bit! His next question is usually, "Would you write another book?" Well, I've not been asked...so I don't know my answer. 

Thank you so much for letting me share my exciting news with you. It's so nice to see all that hard work, long hours and pj'ed weekends become something tangible. You'll have to let me know if you get a copy and what you think! 

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