Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Spring Birds by Linda Hess & her 2nd grade students

Hi all!  Spring has sprung in a big way here in Virginia.  The trees are out, the birds are singing, the allergy eyes are itchy!  All of this has me creating wonderful Spring projects with my art classes.

A few weeks back (just before Easter) I made pinch pot birds with my 4th graders.  We used earthen clay that goes into the kiln to cure.  Sadly I had a few students who trapped air in their bird sculptures...the result of this is EXPLODING birds in the kiln.  Sadly, when they explode they not only destroy that creation, but they take out a few around them as well :-(  For that reason, when I decided to create birds with my 2nd graders I wanted to simplify the process and remove the possibility of the creations meeting an "untimely demise".  Naturally I pulled out my go-to airdry Creative PaperClay.

To create these birds you only need a few materials:
Creative PaperClay (obviously)
a small bowl of water
a damp paper towel
tools: plastic knife, pokey tools (a pencil or pen will work for this!)
acrylic paint & a brush

That's it!  Now to create.
1)  For my 2nd graders I cut each package of Creative PaperClay into 6 equal pieces.  Each student received a piece of clay and a damp paper towel. 
2) The piece of clay was torn in half.  One half was placed into the damp paper towel to keep it moist (lay out the paper towel, place the clay on one side, an then fold the paper towel over).  The other half was rolled into a ball and then into an egg shape. 
3) The egg shape was flattened to create a bird body (no thinner than a pencil).  Wasn't that easy??  Now, time to add details!

NOW any of you who work with children know that they all go to their own beat when creating.  You can tell them "We are creating birds", but they will come up with other options..."Can I make a bunny?" "Can I make a snake?" "Can I ...?"  You get the idea.  So of course when I started to demo the details, the questions began.  The bunny option got a yes...the snake option, a no...and so on.

4) "Remove the extra clay from your paper towel.  This will be used to create wings, beak, eyes, and any other details you wish to add." 
5) For a beak, roll a ball of clay.  Flatten slightly.  Pinch one end to form a tear drop.  Dip one finger in the bowl of water and rub onto the bird shape where you want to place the beak (the water forms a glue between the 2 pieces of Creative PaperClay). 
Press beak into place.  Edges can be smoothed and beak lines can be added.
6) For the wings, repeat the beak steps, but with larger balls of clay. 

Again, dip one finger into the water and rub it onto the bird body.  Press wings in place.  Detail wings if desired.
7) Eyes are SUPER easy...just 2 small balls rolled and pressed into place above the beak (using the water "glue" of course). 
8) Add additional details and then set the bird aside to dry. [NOTE: Clay can be "speed dried" by placing into your oven at 275 degrees for ~20-30 minutes]
9) Once dry, paint with acrylic paints.

That's it!  I hope you have enjoyed this Spring project and the simplicity of using Creative PaperClay.  Here are the birds that my 2nd graders designed.  As you can see a few of them go to the beat of their own drum, but that is what makes my job so rewarding...seeing and experiencing the creative souls that surround me on a daily basis.  I never know what will emerge from those pint-sized brains and I love the surprises :-)


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