SEATED CLAY FIGURE – Proportion, Texture, Space

Students create a seated figure using air dry clay. Once it is dry they add details with watercolour paint.

Required Time

180 Minutes

Grade Level

Grade 3 to Grade 8

Subject

Art Techniques
Mathematics
Visual Arts

Vocabulary

air dry clay colour contrast detail form negative space positive space proportion score shape slip surface texture

Materials

Small pieces of cardboard, wood, or other firm surface such as Plexiglas Slip Skewers Toothbrushes Small Rolling Pin (optional) Small Yogurt Containers Plastic Placemat Paper Towels Air Dry Clay - White Watercolour Paints Paint Brushes

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Steps

SEATED CLAY FIGURE – Proportion, Texture, Space - Step One

Step One

Work on a piece of cardboard or other firm surface. Take a small amount of clay and flatten it with your fingers.

SEATED CLAY FIGURE – Proportion, Texture, Space - Step Two

Step Two

Use the rolling pin to flatten and smooth the clay. This is called a SLAB of clay.

SEATED CLAY FIGURE – Proportion, Texture, Space - Step Three

Step Three

Roll a small ball of clay for the figure to sit on.

SEATED CLAY FIGURE – Proportion, Texture, Space - Step Four

Step Four

Score a spot on the slab where the clay ball will go. Add slip to secure the ball.

SEATED CLAY FIGURE – Proportion, Texture, Space - Step Five

Step Five

Press the clay ball onto the slab. Pinch the two surfaces together using a flat skewer, or the back of your fingernail.

SEATED CLAY FIGURE – Proportion, Texture, Space - Step Six

Step Six

Roll a short coil to use for the legs.

SEATED CLAY FIGURE – Proportion, Texture, Space - Step Seven

Step Seven

Bend the coil in half and attach it to the clay ball. Remember to score and add slip first.

SEATED CLAY FIGURE – Proportion, Texture, Space - Step Eight

Step Eight

If you are planning to have a skirt/dress roll out a thin slab of clay for a skirt. Cut it into the desired shape using a skewer or plastic knife. Place the skirt over the legs and attach. 

SEATED CLAY FIGURE – Proportion, Texture, Space - Step Nine

Step Nine

Roll a small ball of clay into a short coil for the body.

 

 

SEATED CLAY FIGURE – Proportion, Texture, Space - Step Ten

Step Ten

Attach the coil on top of the legs. Remember to score and add slip first.

SEATED CLAY FIGURE – Proportion, Texture, Space - Step Eleven

Step Eleven

Roll a short coil for the arms and attach it across the shoulders. Remember to score and add slip first.

SEATED CLAY FIGURE – Proportion, Texture, Space - Step Twelve

Step Twelve

Roll a small ball for the head. Make sure the size is in proportion to the body. Score and add slip before attaching the head to the body.

SEATED CLAY FIGURE – Proportion, Texture, Space - Step Thirteen

Step Thirteen

Attach the head.

SEATED CLAY FIGURE – Proportion, Texture, Space - Step Fourteen

Step Fourteen

Smooth out the neck.

SEATED CLAY FIGURE – Proportion, Texture, Space - Step Fifteen

Step Fifteen

Put some clay into a garlic press and squeeze it out.

SEATED CLAY FIGURE – Proportion, Texture, Space - Step Sixteen

Step Sixteen

Attach it to the head for hair.

SEATED CLAY FIGURE – Proportion, Texture, Space - Step Seventeen

Step Seventeen

Thin pieces of clay such as this will probably break off when they dry. If you don’t want this to happen make sure the thin bits are attached to the head or body.

SEATED CLAY FIGURE – Proportion, Texture, Space - Step Eighteen

Step Eighteen

To make a book roll a small piece of clay.

SEATED CLAY FIGURE – Proportion, Texture, Space - Step Nineteen

Step Nineteen

Cut it with a skewer or plastic knife.

SEATED CLAY FIGURE – Proportion, Texture, Space - Step Twenty

Step Twenty

Attach it in place.

SEATED CLAY FIGURE – Proportion, Texture, Space - Step Twenty-One

Step Twenty-One

Add other details. Allow the figure to dry for one week.

SEATED CLAY FIGURE – Proportion, Texture, Space - Step Twenty-Two

Step Twenty-Two

Once the figure is dry it is ready to be painted. 

SEATED CLAY FIGURE – Proportion, Texture, Space - Step Twenty-Three

Step Twenty-Three

Use watercolour paints to add a few colour details to the figure. Add colour in a variety of places to move the eye in and around the figure.

SEATED CLAY FIGURE – Proportion, Texture, Space - Step Twenty-Four

Step Twenty-Four

You may want to coat the figure with an acrylic varnish.

SEATED CLAY FIGURE – Proportion, Texture, Space - Step Twenty-Five

Step Twenty-Five

Allow the figure to dry for 3 hours.

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  1. Use coil hand building technique to create a clay sculpture of a seated figure;
  2. Add details to communicate the figure’s personality;
  3. Visualize positive and negative shapes;
  4. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creative thinking; and
  5. Support their ideas with evidence found in the works.

Extensions

Students work in groups. They place their sculptures together as if they were real people at a gathering. They set the scene by adding a few embellishments, perhaps construction paper trees, for example. Once the scene is set, they write and record a dialogue sequence that can be played when the work is viewed.

Prepare

  1. Create a sample.
  2. Prepare enough slip for each group of students. (Mix a small amount of clay with water until it is the consistency of a thick, creamy milkshake.)
  3. Make sure you have a place to store the completed figures while they dry.
  4. Download some images of seated sculptures, for example,
    Fisher
    Wei Dynasty
    Statue
    London

Introduction

  1. Have the students work in small groups so they can share materials and tools.
  2. Display the images of seated sculptures. Discuss the difference between a sculpture and a picture.
    Notice the details in the sculptures. How do the details and positioning of the figures add to our understanding of the work?
    What kind of personality do you think these people have?
    What do you see that makes you say that?
  3. Introduce the challenge.

Activities

The Challenge

  1. Create a clay sculpture of a seated figure using coil hand building technique.
  2. Add details to communicate your figure’s personality.
  3. Visualize positive and negative shapes.
  4. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creative thinking

The Process

  1. Demonstrate the steps in making the figure.
  2. Remind students to score and add slip every time they join two pieces of clay.
  3. Provide each group with enough clay to get started.
  4. Part way though the lesson stop the class and remind them to look at the figure from all directions. Pay attention to the negative shapes.
  5. Provide individual assistance as needed.
  6. Once figures are dry demonstrate how to add small amounts of paint for emphasis. Notice how the placement of the paint moves the eye around the figure.

Sharing

  1. Display the completed figures.
  2. Discuss the body of work focusing on the various ways people created texture, detail and personality in their figures.

Assessment

  1. Observe students as they work  – thoughtful focus, discriminating, seeking more information, elaborating, experimenting
  2. Observe students as they discuss the art works – active listening, insightful contributions, supporting ideas with evidence found in the artwork and from personal experience. Use the checklist to track progress. (Downloads - FIGURE_tracking.pdf)
  3. Students complete the self-assessment form. (Downloads - SEATED.FIGURE.CLAY.SCUPLTURE. self-assessment.pdf)