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Lesson video

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Hello and welcome to lesson four on ceramics.

My name is Liz and I'll be guiding you through this lesson.

Previously, you learnt about the technique of free modelling and you used this to create a clay figure using your hands and tools to shape the figure and to add texture and pattern.

In this lesson, you will be building upon those previous skills that you've learnt and you'll be gathering ideas and creating your own artwork out of clay.

So if you're ready to make a start, let's have a look at what equipment you'll need for this lesson.

For this lesson you'll need your sketchbook, a pencil and some clay, either natural earthen clay or air drying clay, as well as some clay tools.

And you'll need a smooth surface to work on, cover the surface with a canvas material or a slightly dampened tea towel or a plastic vinyl placemat.

You'll also need to prepare some slip by mixing a small amount of clay and water together and you can use a fork or whisk to mix them up and you need to mix them until you've got a runny consistency, a bit like PVA glue and as you will be working with clay, you'll also need to wear an apron or an old t-shirt or top.

And for some of the activities, you will need an adult to help or supervise you.

In this lesson, you will recap on your previous learning, take inspiration from artworks, gather ideas in your sketchbook to inform your own making, start to make your artwork out of clay and evaluate your work as it progresses.

You look out for the key words in the lesson, which will be in a bold coloured font.

The keywords are: sculpt, to make something by shaping or carving it out materials such as wood, stone and clay.

Carve, to cut away pieces of wood, stone or clay, to create a particular shape or form and vessel, a container such as a vase, which is mostly used to hold liquid.

Now first up, let's have a recap on your previous learning.

Is this statement true or false? Slip is a mixture of clay and glue.

The statement is false.

Slip is made by mixing clay and water together to make a liquid.

Is this statement true or false? Scoring clay means to use a tool to scratch the surface to make it rough.

Yes, it is true.

And after scoring, slip is added to the pieces of clay so that they can be joined securely together.

In this lesson you'll begin to make your own artwork out of clay but before you start, let's take some inspiration from the work of two different artists.

This image is an artwork which has been made by the ceramic artists, Charlotte Mary Pack.

And the inspiration for her work, comes from her love of animals and raising people's awareness of animals that are endangered.

This means there are not many of them left in the world and therefore they need to be protected.

Now the hippopotamus on the screen that you can see, is from her collection of species pots.

Now each of the pieces of art, are hand-built by the artist and they're very small, but they're incredibly detailed.

Charlotte Mary Pack works with porcelain clay and this is a fine soft, smooth clay, which is usually grey or white in colour and is well suited to small detailed and delicate pieces of work.

And she carves away pieces of clay to form the shape she needs and to add texture to the body of the animal.

And the animal sits on top of the vessel, which is shaped like a vase or urn.

Now these images on the screen are of artworks by the artist Phoebe Cummings and she works with clay, to create sculptures and art installations and usually the clay is not fired.

So it doesn't get heated up in a kiln and eventually that delicate clay will start to break up and the clay can then be reused by the artist to create a new piece of work.

The artist Phoebe Cummings, will usually visit the place where her work will be shown and will take inspiration from the space.

She then makes sketches and develops her ideas, returning to create and instal her work.

Now the inspiration for this work on the screen, was the landscape of Cornwall.

And she often includes flowers and plants in her work.

Before you start to make your artwork out of clay, you'll need to gather your ideas.

Now we've looked at some inspiring artworks and now you'll need to decide what you would like to make out of clay.

So you may decide to sculpt an endangered animal out of clay, like the artist Charlotte Mary Pack and there were a few examples of endangered animals on the screen, including the elephant, tiger, sea turtle, red panda and gorilla.

On the screen, you can see the animal I've chosen on the left hand side it's a red Panda and the pictures on the right hand side show you the different stages of sculpting my red panda.

Now I started off by free modelling for the body and the neck and then I used score and slip technique, to add on the tail and legs.

Then I made the head and then attached that using score and slip technique.

Now if you recall, score and slip technique means, making the surfaces of the two pieces of the clay, that you want to join together.

You make those rough using a pencil or a clay tool, you then add the slip to both surfaces, you press them together, so that they're joined together securely.

So when I'd done that and I'd added on all those details, I then use my clay tools to carve and shape the head into the form that I wanted, and also to add texture to the body and head in order to represent the fur.

Now the panda has a striped tail.

So I've drawn lines into the tail to show the stripes.

Now at this stage in the making, my clay was too soft to add some of the other details that I wanted to add.

So I needed to let it dry for a bit so that I can add those extra details afterwards.

So your other option is to sculpt a flower from clay and you may decide to choose a rare flower, one which only exists in some places in the world or you could choose a wild flower or your favourite flower and there are some examples on the screen.

So on the left-hand side of the screen, is an image of an artwork by the artist Phoebe Cummings.

And it's a sculpture of a clay flower.

Now inspired by her artwork, I decided to also make a clay flower, and the flower that I've used as inspiration, is the rare American white water lily.

And on the screen, you can see a series of pictures that shows the process that I've gone through to make my clay flower.

So the first stage is using a rolling pin and with a guide and then using the slabbing technique I've rolled the clay out to make it flat.

I've then cut out the template in the shape of the petals on my flower, then I've cut out each individual petal and then I've then arranged them together to make sure that I have enough to form the outer layer of petals for my flower.

And then the next step, is I used the scoring and slip technique, to join my petals together.

Now the score and slip technique, is making the surfaces of clay that needed to be joined together, scoring those with sharp pencil or a pointed clay tool, until they are rough, adding slip to both surfaces and then joining them together and blending them.

Then the next stage is I've made a square clay tile and I then used scoring and slip to join my outer layer petals to that tile and then I've blended that all together.

And then the final stage on the screen, is I've made a new template for a petal.

I've made it slightly smaller because it's going to form an inner layer of the petals.

And then I've cut those again out of clay and then used the slip and scoring technique, to join those together.

Now my flower is not quite complete.

There's an inner set of petals that I still want to make and instead of cutting those out from the template, I'm just going to cut out a very thin strip of clay and I'm going to roll it around into a spiral shape and then I'm going to use again, scoring and slipping, to join that to my flower in the very centre of it.

Before you begin to sculpt your clay work, I would like you to gather some ideas for your making and I'd like you to choose either, the theme of endangered animals like Charlotte Mary Park did in her artwork, or rare wild or favourite flowers, inspired by the work of Phoebe Cummings.

Now I've gathered ideas for both, just to give you some examples and I'm just going to show you my sketchbook.

So on this page here, I searched online for images of endangered animals, printed those that I have and stuck those into my sketchbook and in the top corner, you can also see an example of Charlotte Mary Packs an artwork as well.

And then on this side, I did a drawing of my red panda, which I eventually chose to sculpt in clay.

And then also on this page, I've got some drawings of rare flowers, including the white American water lily that I used as inspiration for my clay flower and I've also included a few images of Phoebe Cummings' work as well.

Now if you're going to be searching online, make sure that an adult is supporting or supervising you for that.

And when you've gathered your ideas, whether you've stuck pictures in or you've drawn pictures, restart the video when you finish.

Before you begin making your clay sculpture, let's look at some tips to help you with your making.

So whether you're making a clay animal or a clay flower, you'll need to prepare your slip first, by mixing some clay together with water to form a liquid like a PVA glue consistency and you'll use your hands to model the clay, into the form that you want.

Now use water on your hands or a light spray of water, to stop the clay from cracking but just make sure you don't use too much or your clay will become very soft and difficult to handle.

Now if you choose to do a flower, and you're sculpting a flower, you can roll out the clay instead.

So using the clay guides that you've used previously, roll out your clay, so it's the same thickness, cutout some templates for your petals from cards and then check that you've got enough petals to join together.

Now if you are cutting out templates, please ensure that an adult is supporting you or supervising you.

So whether you're sculpting an animal or you're sculpting a flower, you'll need to make sure that any pieces of clay that need to be joined together, you need to ensure that the surfaces that are going to be joined are scored first, so you can use a clay tool, a pointed clay tool or a pencil, score the surfaces, then add the slip to both surfaces, press them together, make sure that they are securely joined and blend those together as well or you can use clay tools to carve out sections of the clay but just make sure the clay isn't too soft when you're doing that and you can also use tools or different objects to create texture by impressing into the clay.

If you remember before, we experimented with different kinds of tools to create texture.

So remember how we used things like a fork or an old toothbrush, the end of a cotton reel and if you want to practise first, you can flatten out the piece of clay with your hand, make sure the surface is smooth and then experiment first, before you add any texture or pattern to your animal or flower.

Now it's your turn to make and you can sculpt your chosen clay animal or flower.

So using the ideas that you've gathered in your sketchbook, choose one and then sculpt your animal or flower.

Now you can rewind the video, to look at the making tips and the pictures of the sculptures I made, if you need to at any point.

And when you finish making, restart the video.

Well done you have finished the first stage of making.

In the next lesson, we will be adding finishing touches, by painting your clay sculpture and varnishing it and you may want to start thinking now, about what colours you would like to use to paint your clay sculpture.

Now if you want to come back to your work and continue to work on it before you add your finishing touches, then you can lightly spray your work with water and wrap it carefully in a plastic bag.

Now ask an adult to help you to do this.

Otherwise you can leave your clay sculpture to dry out.

As you need to do this, before you can start painting in your next lesson.

If you'd like to share your work in progress, please ask your parent or carer, to take a photograph of your clay sculpture and to share it with Oak National on Twitter, tagging @OakNational and #LearnwithOak.

I'll see you in the next lesson, where you will be adding the finishing touches, to your clay sculpture.