SEVEN GRANDFATHER TEACHINGS – Clay, Texture

Students create a clay pinch pot. The circular, clay pot represents the students' understanding of one of the 7 Grandfather teachings through carving, and relief sculpture.

Required Time

120 Minutes

Grade Level

Grade 3 to Grade 8

Subject

Art Techniques
Language Arts
Social Studies
Visual Arts
First Nations, Metis, Inuit

Vocabulary

emphasis form line petroglyphs relief sculpture score shape slip texture

Materials

Pencils Paper Towels Water Containers Crayola Acrylic Paint Paint Brushes Clay Carving Tools (only if available) Slip Air Dry Clay

Shop Crayola Products

Steps

SEVEN GRANDFATHER TEACHINGS – Clay, Texture - Step One

Step One

Choose one of the 7 Grandfather teachings. Brainstorm words and images that you identify with the Grandfather teaching you have chosen. Close your eyes and remember the ancient petroglyphs that were introduced earlier, and are located throughout the world. Think about the animals that represent each of the teachings, remembering that the First Nations peoples living in different geographical locations, may have different animals that symbolize each teaching.

SEVEN GRANDFATHER TEACHINGS – Clay, Texture - Step Two

Step Two

Create a round ball of clay in your hand. Make sure you do not have too much clay, just enough to fit in the palm of your hand.

SEVEN GRANDFATHER TEACHINGS – Clay, Texture - Step Three

Step Three

Press your thumb into the center of the clay ball. Squeeze the clay between your thumb (inside the clay ball) and your fingers (outside the clay ball) until the wall of the clay pot feels about 1cm thick.

SEVEN GRANDFATHER TEACHINGS – Clay, Texture - Step Four

Step Four

Move the clay in a circular pattern as you slowly begin squeezing the clay from the bottom of your pot to the rim of your pot. Try to create a uniform thickness along the walls of the pot (1cm).

SEVEN GRANDFATHER TEACHINGS – Clay, Texture - Step Five

Step Five

Take your time and move slowly to create an even thickness. Remember to carve your initials into the base of your pinch pot.

SEVEN GRANDFATHER TEACHINGS – Clay, Texture - Step Six

Step Six

Use a small piece of clay to create the animal that represents the Grandfather teaching you have chosen. Flatten the clay in your hands so it is about 0.5cm thick. Carve the animal from the clay using a pencil. Score (draw lines into the clay with a pencil) the back of the animal and the clay you are attaching the animal to. Paint each scored surface with slip (mixture of clay and water in the consistency of a heavy cream), and press together. Use the pencil to clarify and define the edges of the animal (relief sculpture).

SEVEN GRANDFATHER TEACHINGS – Clay, Texture - Step Seven

Step Seven

Carve the Grandfather teaching you have chosen into the outside wall of the pinch pot. Add other words that have a similiar meaning, and separate each word by carving an image that helps you understand the Grandfather teaching you have chosen. The carved words and images create texture. Let your clay pot dry before painting it (about 2 days).

SEVEN GRANDFATHER TEACHINGS – Clay, Texture - Step Eight

Step Eight

Choose a colour of acrylic paint to brush into the carved words and images. Use a small paint brush. This painting technique will emphasize the texture on the walls of the pinch pot.

SEVEN GRANDFATHER TEACHINGS – Clay, Texture - Step Nine

Step Nine

Dampen a small piece of paper towel with water, and use it to lightly rub the painted, textured surface.

SEVEN GRANDFATHER TEACHINGS – Clay, Texture - Step Ten

Step Ten

Decide whether you want to add more colours to your pot with acrylic paint, or leave it in its natural form. The animal representing the Grandfather teaching is a relief sculpture. The words and images carved on the outside of the pot create a textured surface.

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  1. Share their understanding of the 7 Grandfather teachings through art;
  2. Communicate one of the 7 Grandfather teachings through the creation of a clay pinch pot using handbuilding techniques;
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of one of the 7 Grandfather teachings through words, images, and sculptural forms in clay;
  4. Connect personal life experiences to their artworks; and
  5. Create texture through carving and relief sculpture.

Extensions

  1. Create a second clay pot using a different Grandfather teaching.
  2. Illustrate one of the Grandfather teachings using colour and paints.
  3. Write a story in which a personal life experience expemplifying one of the 7 Grandfather teachings is shared.
  4. Have a community circle where students share how they see the Grandfather teachings being a part of their classroom.

 

Prepare

  1. Prior to this lesson download images from the internet, or find images in books or magazines of a variety of petroglyphs from around the world (including Canada).
    Agawa Ontario
    Petroglyphs
    Thunderbird
    Giants
    Giraffe
  2. Download the following pdf and read about the Seven Sacred Teachings, Niizhwaaswi gagiikwewin, by David Bouchard & Dr. Joseph Martin, paintings by Kristy Cameron, 
    Seven Sacred Teachings
    This pdf will give you background knowledge about the 7 Grandfather teachings from the perspective of the writers. The paintings and writings about the 'Seven Sacred Teachings' can be shared with the students. Make sure students understand who wrote the teachings and where they are from. First Nations Peoples from different communities will have different understandings and perspectives on the 7 Grandfather teachings.
  3. Download, The Seven Grandfather Teachings, by Rabbit and Bear Paws,
    Seven Grandfather Teachings
    The Seven Grandfather Teachings, by Rabbit and Bear Paws can be shared and reflected on daily (one teaching each day) with the students.

Introduction

  1. Introduce the students to the 7 Grandfather teachings by sharing, discussing, and reflecting on one teaching each day.
  2. Make sure students understand who wrote the teachings, and where they are from. First Nations Peoples from different communities will have different understandings and perspectives on the 7 Grandfather teachings.
  3. Explain the connections between the animals and the teachings they represent based on the resources included in this lesson.
  4. Introduce the students to the petroglyphs through viewing ancient images of rock carvings and paintings. Focus on the petroglyphs in Canada, however show examples from around the world. Discuss the possible meanings of various images, and why people created them.

Activities

The Challenge

  1. Choose one of the 7 Grandfather teachings that you feel most connection to.
  2. Create a clay pinch pot with walls that have an even thickness.
  3. Sculpt the form of the animal representing the teaching on the inside of the clay pot, creating a relief sculpture.
  4. Carve words and images into the outside wall that describe the teaching you have chosen. Use words and images that are connected to your personal life experiences.
  5. Use acrylic paint to emphasize the textures you have created.

The Process

  1. After reflecting on the 7 Grandfather teachings have students choose a teaching they feel connected to.
  2. Remind students to think about what they discovered while viewing the various petroglyphs from across Canada, and around the world.
  3. Have students brainstorm words, thoughts, feelings, experiences and images connected to the Grandfather teaching they have chosen. Ask them to use coloured markers to record their ideas in their sketchbooks or on a piece of blank paper. 
  4. Guide students through the steps outlined in this lesson plan.
  5. Observe students as they work. 
  6. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.

Sharing

  1. Once all the artworks are complete ask students to bring their artworks into a large circle. Invite each student to share how their clay pinch pot represents one of the 7 Grandfather teachings.
  2. During the circle discussion include references to: emphasis, texture, form, shape, and line.
  3. Share ideas on how the 7 Grandfather teachings could become part of the class community.

Assessment

  1. Observe students as they work – exploring, experimenting, adding detail, thoughtful focus.
  2. Listen to and observe students as they discuss the artworks – attentive listening, insightful contributions.
  3. Use a checklist to track progress. (Download - 7_TEACHINGS_tracking.pdf)
  4. Have students reflect on their own artworks in their sketchbooks. Ask students:
    - What worked well in you artwork? Why                                             
    - What would you change or do differently next time?                          
    - What does the Grandfather teaching you chose mean to you?