Sometimes the simplest of projects can turn out to be anything but. My students loved making these snowman, but they did turn out to be a challenge in making clay pieces connect to each other. Whether it was a nose or hat or head, we all learned a lot about what it takes to keep clay shapes from falling apart.
1. The students got a handful of clay, warmed and softened it up with water and formed the small, medium and large balls of their snowman. To connect the shapes, they needed to score (scratch with a fork) the sides of the balls that would touch each other. After securely pressing the scored edges to each other, they could add decorations as desired: carrot noses, buttons, hats, etc. What turned out to be key in making connections was having very soft and damp clay, very defined scratches, and literally “screwing” the shapes into each other. Clay shrinks as it dries so smooth edges just seem to pop apart. Pipe cleaners were stuck into the sides for temporary arms.
2. After drying for several days in the sun, the pipe cleaner arms were removed and the clay was fired in a kiln.
3. The pipe cleaners were placed back in the arm holes, and the students painted the snowman with glaze.
4. The pipe cleaners were removed, and the snowmen were fired for the last time. When cooled, small twigs were placed in the arm holes.