Making Art with Clay

Clay Tiles Artwork

(An e-mail interview with an Art teacher)

Clay Artwork

Clay Artwork

Clay Artwork

Clay Artwork

1. Can you breifly explain how and why you did this activity?

I wanted you to do the clay activity so you could enjoy the experience of working with clay while at the same time learning the slab building technique.The slab method is a basic handbuilding technique and involves rolling out clay to an even thickness and joining flat pieces together. I also wanted you to understand the processes involved in making something out of clay from preparing the clay through to firing and glazing.

My main teaching method for this acivity was to demonstrate each step while explaining the technique and giving ideas for possible designs and decorations.

2. What skills did you hope we would gain from this activity?

The main skill I wanted you to learn was the "score and slip" method of joining clay which involves scratching or scoring the surfaces to be joined and applying slip before pressing the 2 surfaces together. Slip is a gooey mixture of clay and water which is a bit like glue for clay! I also wanted you to experience painting on underglazes and clear glaze to your bisque fired tile before the final firing.

3. What problems did you face in doing this activity and how did you overcome them?

My main problem was that I was sent a different type of clay than what I ordered.I ordered a soft white earthernware clay which is easy to work with and very smooth. It also shows underglaze colour very well. Instead I recieved a very coarse textured dark clay which wasn't well suited to the tile project.

I decided to go ahead with it anyway as I knew it would work out - just not exactly as I had originally planned it. A big problem also is that our school doesn't have a kiln so I had to drive to Brunswick Heads and back twice to get the firing done at the Village Pottery.

4. What are your thoughts about how we went with the activity?

I am extremely happy with the way the Starfish students handled the new skills they learned and with the way the final pieces turned out. The colours were not as vibrant as I had envisaged but I think they look great and I hope the artists are as pleased with them as I am.


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