I've always been fascinated by the gargoyles I've seen on my many travels and decided it would be a fun subject matter for the third through fifth grade students participating in this clay workshop. Doing a web search, I discovered these images, all of animal gargoyles and used them as inspiration in creating our own versions in red clay.
Sketchbooks and pencils
Low fire red clay, 6 oz per student
Canvas mats for work surfaces
Cardboard bats for storing work
1. I put out a set of gargoyle images from around the world taken off the web. I stuck with an animal theme and led a discussion about the images.
We looked at things like:
*Materials used (carved stone)
*Location of gargoyles (on exterior of buildings, up high)
*Subject matter (in this case, animals)
*Meanings of animals used (strength, courage, loyalty, etc)
*Function (to direct rain water away from the building, hence the open mouths).
2. Students spent a few minutes drawing ideas in their sketchbooks to generate ideas. They were to consider what qualities an animal had and which animal they'd choose for their own sculpture.
3. After they decided what animal they wanted to do, students watched a brief demo I did on construction, dividing the clay into parts for main body shapes, limbs, and details. I emphasized using techniques previously used in firmly attaching all parts to the main shapes, to ensure stability.
4. Students spent the rest of the hour building their gargoyles, adding texture and detail with tools. When all works were finished, we set them on cardboard and in boxes for drying.
5. These pieces were later fired and left with their natural finish.