Thursday, March 19, 2015

"Reach For The Stars" by Linda Hess

Those of you who follow my posts know that I teach art in at a local Catholic School.  Every year the school has an auction to raise money for "extras" that the school and/or teachers may need/want/wish for.  I have been given the job of creating a piece with each of my classes to be auctioned off during the event.  One of the pieces that I am creating wit a class is called "Reach For The Stars".  I will be creating it with the 8th graders who shall leave us soon and venture on to high school and beyond.  It will incorporate tracings of each student's hands and part of the arms that they will decorate.  The piece will be framed in a 24"x36" wood frame tat I plan to inscribe with inspirational sayings that I found online (of course).

With that piece stuck in my head (I am very excited to get started on it!), I thought why not create a smaller version with a bit of dimension?  Immediately a vision began to form and I ran to the studio for some clay....

If you know me, you know that my studio is filled with every kind of clay imaginable.  For this project I grabbed my Creative PaperClay, a straight blade, a small bowl of water, and my Sculpey Etch & Pearl tool (  I pulled off a bit of the Creative PaperClay and went to work.
1) Roll a 1" ball of clay in your hands.  Pinch the ball into a paddle shape and flatten slightly. 
2) Use straight blade to cut a thumb line and 3 finger lines.  This will give you 5 rough fingers.
3) Roll each "finger" until smooth and rounded.  Clay can be easily manipulated at this point.  If it begins to dry and you can't seem to get the cracks out, dip your finger into the bowl of water ad smooth over cracks.
4) Position fingers to form "reaching" hand.  Shape hand and wrist. 
5) Add fingernails using the "Etch & Pearl" tool as shown.
6) Wasn't that easy?!  Now create a few more.  Arrange the hands in a staggered line.  Once happy with the look, cut a straight edge. 
7)  If you have followed my posts for any amount of time you know that this is where I get impatient, so into the oven the hands will go....bake at 275 degrees for about 20-30 minutes.
Once cooled it is time to put the piece together (wasn't that fast?!).  I took the back off a frame (5"x7") and got rid of the glass (you can reuse it for something else like I do OR pitch it).  From my stash of scrapbook papers I found a great paper from Murdock Country Creations ( [turquoise #PSO42] ).  I cut it to fit the back and glued it on using my favorite "The Ultimate" glue from Crafter's Pick (
Next I painted the cooled hands with a variety of acrylic paints.  Don't they look nice? 
Hmmm, I think they may need manicures...perfect. 
A beaded trim from my stash (I think Expo, International, but not positive) attached to the top edge adds a bit of bling and the illusion of stars.
Place the backing into the open frame.  Position the hands and glue in place.  Print off chosen saying or use a rubber stamped saying.  To get a organic look, tear the edges towards you rather than cutting.  Glue in place. 
THERE!!  All done.

I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial.  See you next time. 

No comments: