Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Slump Fish Dish

I am working with students that have very limited fine motor and gross motor skills. As I experiment with different materials, I try to find materials and projects that the students can use to express themselves, but also have the added joy of being able to share something they can be proud of making. Sometimes this means looking at what I know they can do and finding a project that will highlight their special creative skills,  mark making or painting in a way that is not only fun and creative, but also something that is aesthetically pleasing to their family. It is so important to have their families support what they are creating and to understand the importance of art. I want them to be able to enjoy art after I no longer have them as students.

Working with ceramics is really a good solution. My students do not all have the dexterity or hand strength to create ceramics with pinching or pulling the clay, but they do well working with a slab of clay.

My students are currently working on a couple of clay projects, in different stages. I'd like to share one project I feel is going pretty well. This project is the slump fish dish and I think it is really going to be awesome! I made templates for my students out of tag board and laminated them and then cut them out. Students worked to wedge their clay and then roll a slab. Once they had a nice even slab (thanks to 2 rulers), they laid the template on their clay slab and traced around it. Some of my students need assistance with rolling the clay, some students need assistance with tracing the template.

Once the excess clay was cut away, students used found objects to create lines and patterns on their clay fish. When the fish design was complete, students carefully laid the fish (design side down) over the bottom of a small styrofoam bowl. I had two approaches for the bottom due to different ability levels. Some students just wrote their name on the bottom and they were finished. Other students rolled a small diameter coil of clay and used "score, slip, smooth" to add a foot to the bottom of the dish before signing their name.

Even with a wide range of abilities, the project has been successful so far. Right now, the slump fish dishes have been bisque fired and are waiting to be glazed. I can't wait to see how they do with the painting! I will be sure to post our finished project.

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