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The grade 4’s have all done their first clay figure lesson now.  The brief was to create a clay person seated in an interesting and realistic way.  We spoke strongly about thin pieces of clay breaking easily and parts of the body being linked to give them more strength.  I urged them to remember how extremely brittle the clay becomes when it is bone dry, to think ahead and see the week parts of their little people so that they can build it stronger before it dries.

The little people were each placed on a small square of card with the owner’s name and class written along the edge.  The figures were then placed carefully into a large plastic bag and sealed for a week or until their next art lesson.

I told the kids about the environment created inside the bag.  The heat during day causes the water in the clay to evaporate and become a vapour inside the bag. When night comes and cools the air it condenses on the bag and on the outside f the clay. The clay absorbs so some water before the heat of day comes again and starts the cycle all over again.  When we open the bag we expect to find it very wet inside.  The bag should be wet and the clay should feel wet and slimy but harder than the last lesson as the molecules of the clay are now closer together, more condensed without the water molecules in between them.  The water on the surface of the clay will need to be used quickly to help smooth the clay as it evaporates very quickly – especially in my warm class. – Sometimes art is science too!

This week the grade 4’s are going to finalize their little people by patterning their bodies, adding lines for clothes, buttons and pockets.  They will draw in their eyes and bring out the facial features using toothpicks.  I so look forward to displaying these little guys.  They always bring me such joy – so cute.

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This little man is the best clay figure I have ever seen a grade 4 make. Sturdy and stylised with oodles of character! Wish I could keep him.

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