If you have access to a kiln, or a friend who does, get a chunk of clay and make some of these cute little critters with your kids. We painted them instead of glazing them this time. Next time we want to experiment with glazes. Ema and Adia have some tips on making and painting little clay objects, based on their own experiences with this project.
Thank you to Gene Hickman of the Helena Clay Arts Guild, for the clay, and teaching the girls some tricks of the trade.
Adia describes her ceramic creations by saying, “I made a moon, a dog lying down, a bead and a bowl. The bowl is about as tall as a cat’s paw, and as big around as a cherry tomato. What I might put in it is a bouncy ball small enough to fit. For the moon, I chose green because I was thinking of blue cheese — the kind you eat — and I thought of green. So that’s what I painted it.”
Adia’s advice on this project:
First paint your clay thing one solid color, then let it dry. Then, you can paint other colors you want on top of that.
When you make the shapes, try not to make them too thick or they might explode in the kiln.
Ema explains, “I made a small horse and a little elephant. When I made the horse, I was thinking of my favorite horse that my grandmother owns. Her name is Rosebud. The design on the back of my horse is similar to Rosebud’s design. She is a red roan, so I painted her red.
When I made the elephant, I was thinking of my mom. I think elephants are her favorite animal. I painted it gold because gold makes me feel happy. It also has pink, black and white. I made a happy accident with the eyes. I accidentally drew a black line on the eye and the black line turned into an eyelash and then I made more. So now she looks cute. I gave the little elephant to my mom.
Ema’s tips on making ceramic critters:
Don’t make it too thin. It might crack.
If you want to paint more than one color, wait until the first color dries before you paint on top of it or the colors will mix and make a different color. If you painted yellow on top of blue when it is wet, it would make green and you might not like green. And if you painted a bunch of colors on top of another it would make brown and you might not like brown. And so on.
If you make your creature too thick, it might explode in the kiln! And that might not be good for other pottery in the kiln, but especially not good for yours.
Don’t try to make it perfect. It won’t be. But you may make some happy accidents and those are good accidents. How will you know if you have a happy accident? Say you were painting an elephant and you accidentally drew a black line on it’s back. It could turn into wrinkles. Or, say you were painting a bowl and you were painting it yellow and you accidentally got blue on it. You could make it a rainbow bowl. And so on. And that’s how you would know it’s a happy accident.