Modelling textured objects
You will need:
Clay – enough for a big fist-sized lump for each student
Found tools for working into clay – such as paperclips, old pens, toothpicks, lollipop sticks, sharpened twigs, grass stalks, old plastic forks, nails or phone cards
Masonite or wooden boards to work on, if available; and plenty of newspaper
In this activity, you will use clay to create a replica of an object from the bag.
Why do we choose to use clay for this activity? Working with clay involves the sense of touch during the process of modelling; it is a tactile medium. Secondly, doing this activity will develop your ability to observe carefully as well as to interpret what you see. You will need to pay close attention to the textured surfaces of your object, and interpret it in another three-dimensional medium.
It is important therefore to look closely, to observe fine detail and not to be satisfied with a rough clay “sketch”.
- First, choose one of the objects you identified earlier when you were blindfolded.
- Now hold that object in your hands, and feel it while concentrating on the sensitivity in your fingers. Become aware of the three-dimensional quality of the object, the way it takes up space, and has form and weight.
- Look closely at all its details, including its imperfections. Slowly turn the object around, noticing what it looks like from every angle.
- Now you will receive a ball of clay, more or less as big as the small object you have been examining.
- First hold the clay, then squeeze and press into it with your fingers to get a sense of its plasticity. It should be pliable and damp enough to hold fine shapes (pointed shapes,
- Create a clay “copy” of your chosen object.
You can use tools to help you interpret the object’s texture onto the clay.
To the Teacher
For the clay activity, if you do not have boards (masonite or wooden), give each student a fairly thick wad of newspaper to protect their table surface.
Make sure you have time to divide the clay into fist-sized lumps – one for each student.
Talk About This
Place the original object and its clay counterpart next to each other on display. Discuss them together.
Which of these clay sculptures are interesting in terms of capturing or interpreting texture? Which do so very convincingly? Which do so in a new or unexpected way?
What did you enjoy about this project?
What did you find difficult?
What did you learn or discover while doing this project?