We had done this in April following the Come Play with Me Series. I finally got down to write about it. I was intently absorbing what Kate was trying to advocate– namely just PLAY and EXPLORE with the Clay. No expectations of final product that was aesthetically pleasing nor functional. If they do possess such attributes, that I deem would be a bonus!
I was baffled as Clay wasn’t cheap and it wasn’t how we were taught to do. Basically, I was taught instantly how to make something out of clay. My teacher demonstrated step by step the process of making let’s say a mural tile or a vase etc. Prior to this, I had the chance to make clay impressions with my kids and that was itself a technique. I was hesitant to let them try ‘building’ and ‘making’ something as it required scoring skills which I didn’t think they were up to learning it yet. That was until I read Kate’s post on freedom to explore. I decided to use the leftover clay which I gathered from my class for their exploration. It was recycled Clay and will be great for this! (I admit, it would be much tougher for me to allow free play with fresh and store bought Clay)
By now, if you follow my blog, you would know I emphasize a lot on the PROCESS over PRODUCT whenever beneficial. This was not new to me, but it was an expensive thing to do if not for the recycled clay. Anyway, the kids enjoyed themselves thoroughly especially with the spraying of water part. Without such free play, they would NEVER get to spray so much water on the clay…. ; p I was glad to let go and let them be, experiencing for themselves the beauty of clay properties. Ok, in the midst of exploring, I really couldn’t resist the perfect opportunity as it presented itself to me when one kid started stacking the pieces of clay but it just wouldn’t stick! I then stepped in to introduce scoring. It simply means to create impressions like the criss cross patterns on the clay to create gaps. Afterwhich, one sprays some water over the scored area before putting the next piece of clay on the scored area to ‘stick’ it together.
I was delighted to be proven wrong about their abilities. They were learning how to score! Then it hit me that I had a mental block with a preconceived idea of teaching this method via very intricate clay products (e.g. vases, tiles, a specific shape or mould). It didn’t occur to me that learning the skill of scoring can be done in such experimental stage- using just slabs of clay to pile over each other. It was truly a happy accidental learning for all of us!
Ok, ta dah… their final ‘product’. It is really more of a process-based product. As much as I can afford, I would like the kids to be familiar with Clay making process. We don’t have a kiln (it’s like a hot oven for firing the Clay), so I opted for Air Dry Clay. Motivated by this experience, I went in search of good quality clay with reasonable price. I was actually surprised to find it in the Art Friend. The brand Jovi fits my criteria. It was not overpriced for it’s natural and smooth texture compared to even Popular and Daiso (yes, Daiso because the quality is nowhere near natural clay). My children need not be ceramists, but I strongly believe that they will benefit with this natural medium to build, sculpt, mould their ideas into something 3D (three dimension).
Let’s Clay together! : )