This weekend we decided to try our luck with making pottery… or as Sam states we spent the weekend exploring the “art of touching clay”.
I was told that Raku a traditional Japanese pottery would be a good starting project since it has a very low firing temperature and is often hand sculpted instead of thrown. We are going to do “American Raku” which includes a post firing reduction. I will explain that in another post since this weekend we are just going to “sculpt” our projects… or as Ben explains “we just let the clay guide us to what it wants to be”.
To get us started, I ordered the clay from amazon and was shocked when a 50 lb. box arrived at my doorstep. I really should read closer the description of any items I purchase.
I decided I had better get a “head start” and do some “pre-sculpting” so I could impress the kids with all of my wealth of knowledge and experience. I wanted to make an Art Nouveau vase inspired by trees. In my mind it had two parts the base being the trunks tall and narrow and the top being the leaves very spherical. (That is probably a horrible description and I failed miserable at making this so you wont get to see exactly what I had in mind)
I will share what I did…
I wondered how to get the clay to stay up in a tall shape and had an idea… I would use balloons a tall skinny one for the base and a round one for the top!
Here you can see my “vase base” (wow that rhymes) and the red balloon.
I got to this point with trying to shape interesting trees up the balloon to form my vase and just after this picture I popped the balloon… the clay slumped in and all my worked collapsed into an ugly pile.
I started over and choose a luckier color – green. I went with a bit more simplistic design which I like less but I finished without breaking the balloon.
Here it is without the balloon… next step was to blow up a round balloon and form the top. I let the base dry and picked it up… maybe a bit to carelessly…
It all collapsed… dang it… another fail….
I decided to try something a bit more simple with the kids and warned them not to be too clever or fancy. (Didn’t want them to go through what I just did… or worse make something better than me)
We all grabbed some clay and started creating… Isabelle was the first done probably setting a worlds record for fasting sculpting in a garage. She stated “There I did something”. (I don’t think she really wanted to do “anything” but was being a good sport) She created two necklace things. (I think they are necklace pieces… they will probably look better with glaze)
Sam finished second we all kind of wondered what it was. I said “awesome” just happy that he participated but Isabelle couldn’t resist and asked him what it was. He stated it was a skull and Isabelle asked him “Why a skull?”. Sam answered “skulls are easy”. (Hmm… I think it often wise to avoid asking your kids what or why… sometimes it is better not to know…)
Sam did follow me and use a balloon to shape the skull. I was the next to finish and created a ball being pulled apart by a little man. I really hope this one doesn’t break
Ben and Gwen took their time and also had some very interesting conversations. Ben stated as he showed a “glob” of clay to his sister “this is going to by my pun part”. Gwen quipped back “You don’t even know what a pun is and that isn’t punny”. (Gesh… big sisters) I felt bad for the little guy so I said “Ben… you have a good imagination”. He smiled and said “I like my imagination”.
Here is the result of that imagination… can you find the “pun”? Here are the final family pieces done by Gwen. She decided to have a Winnie the pooh theme and created Rabbit and Tiger.
Next time we are going to glaze and fire all of these items. That is if I can figure out how to make a kiln…