Friday, January 31, 2014

sketchz 'n doodlz

Some recent sketches. Yet another slightly different style! The 'girl' ones are possible ideas for ceramic slab sculptures where the patterns will become textures.

Mind you, the footy supporters would also look good as a sculpture!

Thursday, January 30, 2014


In FS1 we've been making panda stick puppets;

In Y1 we made 'talking' puppets using a wooden spring peg;

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

painted penguins

Today y4 painted their clay penguins. We had a little production line/process going where we painted all the white bits, then the black and finally the beaks. We decided not to add eyes as they might have spoiled the overall effect. 

Even the misshapen and wobbly ones look good en masse.

Next time - polar bears, with 'proper' clay, fired and glazed!

Sunday, January 26, 2014


The first firing in anger was a success - nothing cracked or exploded! This was the sight on opening the kiln.

Some of the bowls have a lovely mottled glazing effect - purely by accident rather than design.

Thursday, January 23, 2014


Today in y2 we decorated our rice bowls. They had already been underglazed both inside and out in white so we added patterns using a dark blue glaze.

Here are some of the bowls before their final firing;

We're keeping everything crossed. It's the first time we've tried anything like this and I've warned the children that some bowls may still crack under the intense heat!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

outer space

The real littley's, our FS1 children (3 & 4 yr olds) are learning the song about '5 little men in a flying saucer' this week. So, in art we made some planets by dropping inks onto dampened filter paper. We also did some marbling.

In a small group we drew the 5 little men using the legendary 'A is for...(alien)'.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


 Today in y4 we moulded some penguins. We first of all flattened a ball of clay and then moulded it around our paper-towel covered thumbs.

We added broken lollipop sticks for wings and a short length of dowel for the beak.

We used air-drying clay so no worries about the wooden bits being burnt in the kiln! We referenced Anthony Gormley's 'The Field' and are hoping that 70+ penguins looks like a reasonable colony.
We'll paint them next week when they've dried.

Monday, January 20, 2014


Excited - because the 'rice bowls' are currently being bisque fired in batches. I'll underglaze them all in white before the children add the blue patterning in their next lesson.
Meanwhile, y6 have continued with their rivers/perspective theme and have created some collaged cityscapes.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

rice bowls

Today y2 made a start on their rice bowls. We used the tried and trusted thumb pot method.

We enlarged the hole using thumbs and fingers.

We smoothed and shaped until we arrived at a bowl shape.

We even added a foot from a sausage of clay.

All fingers and toes are now crossed so that they don't explode, crack or fall apart in the kiln. They are on a drying programme at the moment and then will be bisque fired ready for decorating next week.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

automaton in action

Think I've managed it! Below is the clip showing the latest automaton in action. I left the vintage gaming pieces exactly as I found them. I like the fact that the springs on which they are mounted adds to the motion. 

The box is an old wooden 'animal domino' one and the simple cam movement utilises MDF wheels.
(Hmm - video doesn't work on my iPad though !?!)

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

automata & animals

Still bitten by the automata bug and have finally found a use for some vintage game counters that I bought from a flea market about a year ago. Watch this space - will try and post a video(!) of the finished piece.

Today y4 visited a local wildlife park. Despite the bitter cold they managed to do some life drawings of the animals.

Friday, January 10, 2014

first 'proper' firing

The new kiln was 'burnt-in' before xmas and this week I had the chance to play around with some proper clay (not the air-drying stuff) and have a go with the glazes. The first pic is a 'before firing'. All of the glazes are gloss, hence the reflections in the second pic.

Some lovely colours. I've marked them up so that we can see what each glaze will turn out like.
The first project will probably be to make some rice bowls with the y2 children that we will glaze with FN-001 (opaque white foundation) and decorate with SC76 (the mid blue). The glazes are non-toxic and food-safe so I'm hoping the children will be actually be able to use them! Excited!!


In y2 today we made Chinese fans. They are of the folding variety with lollipop sticks as 'handles' with ribbons to secure both closed and open.

Thursday, January 9, 2014


Thank goodness the school computer knows what its doing! Today in y1 ( 5/6 yr olds) we drew toys using simple shapes - squares, rectangles, circles, semi-circles, triangles and ovals. 

We also sketched toy vehicles, including motorbikes! I don't think this is too bad for a 5 yr old!

A traffic jam!


In the afternoon we made 3d versions of our vehicles so that they could be played with. We used words like 'chassis' and 'axle' to help understand the component parts. The body was formed from a folded piece of card, detailed on both sides.

This underside shot shows the simple construction.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014


Computer was supposed to have been fixed at Xmas by PC World (although they claimed it was not the laptop itself but a software problem - and funnily enough it wasn't covered by the guarantee. - ended up costing me £30!). But I'm still having problems uploading pics!! Windows 8 sucks. Might try and see if I can alter the darn thing to windows 7. Is it just me or do other folk have problems with blogger/W 8?

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

up and running

Back at school and back into the swing of things. Have decided that this year is going to be my breakthrough year (again!)!!
This week we are drawing as a gentle lead-in to the topics/themes we will be studying over the next few weeks.
In Y4 today we sketched polar animals - using the now legendary 'A is for....' as a starting point.
Hopefully the animals depicted should be recognisable which is what we were after, rather than a photo-realistic image.

Here's hoping that everyone has a wonderfully creative year!

(Hmm, not too happy with the photo!)