Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Ceramic Clay Box


Slab construction clay box with unique opening.

Students will learn and demonstrate hand-building and slab construction techniques making a box using earthenware clay. The students will demonstrate the Principles of Art (Proportion and Balance) and the Elements of Art (Form, Shape, Color, and Space).
Ceramics, Clay, Earthenware, Hand Building, Wedging, Slab, Coil, Wet Stage, Greenware Stage, Bisque Stage, Glazing, Firing, Kiln, Kiln Elements,

Earthenware Clay, Clay tools, Water, Kiln, Glaze, Pencil, Paper,

The Process

Step 1
The student will use paper and pencil to create a concept (shape, opening, color, decorations) of a box. Once the design is approved the student will be given a chunk of clay. The clay must be wedged for a couple of minutes to eliminate air pockets.

Step 2
The student will place the wedged clay between two long 1/4 inch thick sticks and use a PVC pipe to roll out the clay into a slab. The sticks will provide an even thickness. A fettling knife will be used to cut out the shape of the base.

Step 3
Once the shape of the base is established, additional slabs will be rolled out to make the walls of the box. The student will connect the walls/slabs together by scoring the clay with a fork. Scoring creates texture and along with water will adhere two pieces of clay together. A thin coil will be rolled out and place along the joining walls/slabs for structural reinforcement.

Step 4
When all the walls are connected to the base, the final slab (top) is rolled out. To prevent the top slab from sinking-in,  the box will be tightly stuff with newspaper prior to the top being scored and attached. Any additional pieces of clay can be attached at this time i.e. handles, decorations, etc. The box will rest for a few days until the clay enters into the greenware stage of drying.

Step 5
As the clay box is entering the greenware stage the student will use the fettling knife to create the opening. The newspaper inside the box will be removed. At this time a gouge can be used for making lines or shapes. The student will use their fingers and water to smooth out any edges or lines. The project will rest until it is bone dry and ready to be placed into the kiln.

Step 6
When the project is bone dry (1-2 weeks) it will be placed into the kiln and fired at a Cone 6/approx 900 degrees Celsius. When it comes out of the kiln (24 hours later) the clay has transformed into bisque ware and is ready to glaze.

Step 7
The final stage is glazing the bisque ware box. 2-3 coats of glaze will be applied using a brush. The student will choose their own colors. The glazed box will be fired a final time in the kiln truing the glaze into a shiny glass-like coat of color.

Amina smoothing out her Fez/Tarboosh box with a wooden rib

Nabil joining the third wall.

Wet stage boxes on the path to greenware

Smoothing out the edges

Glazed cake box

Cake box in sections

Present box

Puzzle Box

Fez/Tarboosh box with Arabic Calligraphy

Snowman cookie jar-approx. 20"

Post project essential questions:
What was successful about your project?
What challenges did you face in constructing your clay box?
Did you feel like you had to use a different way of approaching 3D Art compared with 2D Art?
Was your glazing what you expected?

Please answer and e-mail your responses to:bmedina@schutzschool.org.eg