Ceramic Pumpkin

ceramic-pumpkinThis project comes from Ellen at Clayworks Studio. It’s basically making two pinch pots and blending them together. My kids grade 3-5 loved making these and the success rate was very high.
1. Give each student a piece of clay about the size of a small apple. Instruct them to remove a small piece for the stem and set aside. The rest of the clay is to be split into 2 sections.
2. After warming and softening the clay with their hands, each of the 2 sections needs to be turned into a ball and then into a smooth pinch pot. Two bowls should roughly match each other in size.
3. Any time clay pieces are to be blended together, they need to be scored (scratched) and “puttied” together with slip (clay mud). Roughen up the edges of each bowl with a fork, wet with slip, and gently push the two bowls together. Use clay tool to blend together and hide seam.
4. A small stem is to be formed from the last piece of clay. It also gets scored and slipped on what is determined to be the top of the ball. Encourage extra blending on stem base as they are prone to fall off.
5. The students hold the pumpkin in their hands and use a round tube, such as a jumbo-size pencil to push in ridges. If they rock the pencil from the stem to the bottom, rotate, and press again, they will form what look like the ridges of the pumpkin.
6. The next day, I had students draw lightly on the clay what they wanted their faces to look like. I kept it simple with only allowing circles, triangles or squares (no teeth!). It takes a sharp knife to cut out the faces, so I did it for them with an xacto knife.
7. When the clay is no longer cool to the touch, do a bisque firing with all the pumpkins. Have the students paint the pumpkins with glaze, and fire again.

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