Monday, June 22, 2015

Clay Sunflower Yard Art


Clay Sunflower Garden Art
(week #6 of a 6 week clay course for kids)
Since this was the final clay class before school let out for summer holiday, we decided to focus on creating pieces for our gardens using terracotta clay. We looked at images of sunflowers, made clay versions and then added whimsical facial expressions. The finished pieces could either be laid in the garden or put on a metal stake for display.
Supplies and Materials Needed for this Project
 Sketch paper and pencils for recording ideas
Low fire terracotta clay
Rolling pins
Modeling tools
Bamboo skewers or skinny dowel rods
  • Roll out clay using wooden strips to ensure uniform thickness for base of flower
  • Cut out a basic sunflower shape

  •  Next, make petals for the flowers, either by cutting out shapes from the slab or hand forming. Use slip and score technique to securely attach all petals to the base. Add interest by overlapping the petals.

  • Using the modeling tools, add texture to the petals
  • Once all the petals are in place, use a piece of clay to form a small ball, slightly flattening it on one side . This will be the center of the flower

  • Attach the ball to the flower's center (slip and score). Next, begin making facial features out of small bits of clay and adding them to the ball.
A student adds a smile to her sunflower

  • Consider the expression on the flower's face and how shaping the clay can show that expression. Use a tool to add designs for seeds if desired

  • Some students added insects to their flowers. Double check to ensure all bits are securely attached.

  • The final step is taking a bamboo skewer or small dowel rod and making a hole in the flower, if it is to be displayed on a stake in the garden. Hold the flower in one hand and gently push the skewer or rod into the bottom of the flower, rotating it as you go. Set aside to dry. NOTE: AFTER A FEW HOURS, TURN THE SKEWER OR ROD GENTLY IN THE FLOWER AND THEN REMOVE
  •  The rod MUST BE REMOVED before the clay is completely dry or the clay will shrink and breakage will occur on trying to pull it out later
  • Allow clay to dry completely and then fire.
Happy Sunflower

Giant Sunflower
Sunflowers with details added


sunflowers ready to dry

  • We left some of our sunflowers the natural color, but if desired, they can be decorated with glazes or acrylic paints. 
Glazed Sunflower Garden Art


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