“This is Part II about the fantastic clay maker Connie!” (Zack)
“On Thursday, my class got to do the clay on our MASKS! It was superb and fun!” (Larissa)
“On a thrilling Thursday, Connie Clay Maker appeared in our classroom after recess … and helped us MASTER the art of Step 2 on how to make a Peruvian Mask! She plopped a bag full of clay on our desks and all of us took turns taking big hunks of clay out. It was snow-cold. And, it felt as squishy as a piece of moldy mozzarella cheese!” (Galen)
“The first step to using clay is forming it into a ball with the palm of your hand. The clay was dry and chilly in my smooth hands!” (Natasha)
“It was hard and so dirty!” (Brenden)
“We had to make the clay into a circle, so we did. I found it easy to make clay into a ball.” (Max)
“When I touched the clay, it felt like mud. It was really wet feeling! Then we started splatting … splat, splat goes the clay!” (Eric)
“The first time I touched the clay it was … VERY COLD!!! Actually, it wasn’t … it was just that I had imagined that it would be much WARMER than it was!” (Martin)
“You need to splat the clay into a cube!” (Damian)
“We used WRIST action to slap the clay on our desks into a cube!” (Sophie H.)
“She (Connie) banged the clay on the desk a few times (splatting). When I touched the clay it was colder and rougher than I thought.” (Jun)
“Then, repeat step one (to form a ball). Step four … squish the clay with “bird beak hands” to make a famous fattest hamburger shape.” (Mya)
“Step five … roll with a rolling pin … but don’t go off the edges!” (Jesse)
“Be careful not to drive over the edges! I took the rolling pin and flattened it. Once you finish rolling it into a pancake, get your mask and measure it to see if it fits. If it doesn’t fit, keep rolling!” (Ava)
“After we rolled, we flipped it and rolled (again).” (Julia)
“We rolled it up and down and we flipped it over to roll it on its sides.” (Rijul)
“We were rolling and rolling. We were tired!” (Tormod)
“We had to be careful not to roll it too thin or it will break!” (Sophie G.)
“When you put it on, it will look flat … so weird … but once you use the palm of your hand and pat it (gently) you will start to see it shape into a face! The face underneath made of paper plate and newspaper is what you will see!” (Ava)
“We put the (clay) on our masks and decorate it with skewers and popsicle sticks!” (Elijah)
“The fun part is to design your mask. I don’t mean the colour. I mean the little and big designs. A big design is making a hole in the eyes, or just one eye, or the mouth!” (Natasha)
“We also got sticks and used them to carve and draw how we wanted the mask to be.” (Zahra)
“Warning: Don’t go too deep or the clay will BREAK!” (Jun)
“The next time she comes, she will work on the painting with us! We are SO excited.” (Kaylee)
After Connie left us, and the masks were set SAFELY on the countertops around the classroom, we had a conversation about when we would paint them. Students were disappointed that painting wouldn’t happen the very NEXT day – they’ve LOVED this adventure! We talked about how the clay needed a chance to dry SAFELY … undisturbed … and that THEN it would be FIRED in a really BIG kiln to help it harden even more. One young man piped up and said, “I wonder where Connie got the clay. I’d like to do this at HOME!”
Ah, yes … we have clearly discovered that ANY great experience ALWAYS leads us to MORE “I wonders”! Well … where DOES clay come from? Someone said “the store”. Another student proudly told us about how, at the lake, she found some when she was digging DEEP into the ground. She formed it into a pot … and her family helped her to FIRE it in the fire pit! That lead us to a discussion about raku … and … pit firing … and how that differed from kiln firing.
“Well, if it comes from the GROUND, then WHY is it so CLEAN?” someone asked. “Why don’t we GOOGLE that,” someone else offered. Inquiry is TRULY messy … but … it is WELL worth the side trips, ESPECIALLY when these questions are FILLED with life lessons and connections! So, you guessed it … we GOOGLED it! What we found fit BEAUTIFULLY with our recently completed inquiry into Rocks and Minerals. We discovered that clay comes from the erosion of feldspar and granite. Funny, it doesn’t LOOK like granite! Check out this artist’s blog to find out MORE interesting facts about clay! Jenny Gulch tells us, in her blog, that “It’s rare to find a native clay with the working and firing properties you desire already built in. Sometimes you will, but more often you’ll have to strain out debris, add sand, or any of a number of other things to bring the clay up to your standards.” The stuff you buy in a ceramic supplier’s warehouse has still come from the GROUND, but it has had a LOT done to it to make it “workable”! During this search, we even discovered that some clay comes from China!
Stay tuned for Part III of Ancient Peruvian Mask Making! We won’t be painting them until the middle of February … but, don’t worry, we will be blogging about a TON of OTHER interesting things! Keep checking back! Your comments help to inspire us and give us REAL purpose and a REAL audience for our writing experiences! (If you are from Council Bluffs … we would REALLY love to hear from you too … we’ve seen you on our revolver map … and are REALLY curious! Thanks for checking us out!) 😉
- Have you ever found raw clay at the beach, or in your backyard, and made anything with it?
- Do you know other countries that EXPORT clay?
- Is there anything about Part II of Ancient Peruvian Mask Making that you are still wondering about? Maybe we can help you!