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  1. Clay

  2. Part 1What is clay and how long has it been used for making objects? • A definition of clay and • A history of how clay has been used Clay tablet: Approx 300BCE

  3. What is clay? • Clay is very fine particles of dirt created by the decomposition of rock which float in the water and settle onto the bottom of the riverbed or lake and on the banks of streams and rivers, where they are pressed together and stick together.

  4. So who first used clay and what did they make? • Ancient peoples made vessels and bowls and cooking containers out of the mud they found, • Around 6000 BCE people began to fire the object they made out of the mud that they had collected along rivers and streams. • They would use mud brick and adobe ovens to fire these objects. This bowl was made around 5500 BCE And was found in Northern Iraq. This is over 7000 years ago.

  5. Building houses out of clay • Often houses were constructed from clay, and some people still do the same today. Hopi (First nations) – a home in Nevada

  6. Over 2200 years ago these warriors were made in China • In 210 BCE the Chinese emperor Qin Shi Huang had these clay warriors made. There are about 8000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses and 120 cavalry horses in the underground corridors. • You can learn more by visiting the web site:

  7. Hieroglyphics • The Ancient Egyptians used clay as a surface for writing

  8. Part 2:Using clay in our art class • What will we learn?

  9. What will we learn? • We will learn how to make objects out of low fire clay and about how to glaze them. We will learn the terminology used in ceramics • We will learn how to revise and refine our work to make finished quality work • We will learn good environmental practices and learn how to maintain a working studio • We will build skills to allow us to move onto the ceramics course in grade 11

  10. Resilience • I had a colleague who took a ceramics degree. • The students were given the instruction that they were to make 100 mugs and destroy each one of them after they had finished making each one. Why?

  11. Why? • To teach the importance of process; that is, the creative process is more what art is about than just what you produce • To downplay the ownership or pride or possessiveness of objects. You might as well machine produce objects if you are to obsess over the actual item.

  12. They also needed to know: • That failure doesn’t own you and to know that you can do it again (that you are resilient) • To know you are an artist, not just a factory assembly person churning out objects

  13. You are resilient! • You are able to learn. • You are able to do things more than once, you won’t melt or fall apart! • You are capable!

  14. Part 3Knowing the process • What are the basic stages we have to know in this process?

  15. So what is this process? • Wedge the clay • Construct the object with moist clay • Let it dry partially so it can be carved • Let it dry completely and polish it • Fire for the first time • Glaze the object • Re-fire at a higher temperature to melt the glaze

  16. The clay needs to be wedged to get the air out: • You’ll start with moist clay. We will be using an earthen ware clay which is fired at a low temperature, and is the softest of the clays used in art. • You need to wedge the clay first to remove any air pockets. This is done by throwing the clay down on the table, trying to keep it as ball-shaped as possible. • If you flatten it out you will just add air when you roll it up again when making your object.

  17. Air will cause the piece to break in the kiln • If you leave air in the walls of your sculpture and put it into the kiln, the hot air will expand and the piece will break.

  18. Once you have wedged the clay you can start your project: • Start your initial construction. • We will discuss the methods you can use for this. • Make sure that the bag where you got the clay is closed as air dries out the clay and it is not as workable.

  19. Leather-hard stage • Once you are finished doing the basic shapes then you need to start the process of drying out the piece. This is done in two stages. • First we dry the clay to what is called a leather hard stage • The clay object can be carved at this stage

  20. Greenware • Then it is dried to a “bone-dry” stage where there is no more moisture in the clay • Polish with a damp cloth to get it smoothed out . Be careful, as it will break very easily. It looks strong, but it is not! • This is called Greenware • It is the most fragile at this time

  21. Things will break – you are resilient! • The clay object is at its more fragile state when it is bone dry. • When you polish the piece it is so very easy to have it fall apart in your hands, even if you think that you are being careful. • Know that they break, and know that you will often have to start over. • If you have left any air pockets in the clay it will likely explode in the kiln.

  22. First firing • The green-ware is then put into the kiln (like an oven) and fired at 1733 degrees • You bake cookies at 350 degrees, and roast vegetables at 450 degrees. The kiln is HOT! • It will then bake for 8 hours or so, and cool • It is called bisque ware (from the French word for biscuit) • It cannot be smoothed out at this stage as the dust is not good for your lungs. Any pieces that break now will be sharp • It is now time to put colour and/or a finish on the piece

  23. Bisque Ware • The clay is now called bisque ware. • It is hard, but is still porous. • Our next step is to glaze the piece to add colour and then you’ll be able to use it to hold liquids.

  24. Glazing • When the green-ware has been fired it is called bisque ware. • It needs to be washed off before you apply the glaze. • You can dip the object into glaze, pour glaze into the object and swirl it around or you can paint it on. • Do not put glaze on the bottom of your work. It will melt and fuse to the kiln floor and will have to be chipped off to get it out. Your piece will end up in fragments.

  25. Glazing your bisque ware • You can now add the colour using a glaze • Glaze is ground up glass in a powder form, clay, water and metal oxides (which add the colour) and flux which controls the temperature at which the glass melts • When the clay object is fired again the glass powder melts and it forms a hard and shiny finish as it cools (just like on your coffee mugs)

  26. The glaze looks dull before it is fired • You will not be able to really see what the glaze will look like before it is fired. • Glazes look dull and pastel-colouredbefore the glass melts

  27. 2ndfiring and you’re done • The bisque ware, with the glaze is now fired for the second time at a higher temperature (1800 degrees) and when it has cooled you object is now permanently finished • It can be used for food and drink as the glazes we use are not toxic • Be careful, though, putting the objects into the microwave or dishwasher.

  28. References • Test picture: • 1st water cycle picture: • 2nd Water cycle picture: • Tap picture: • Tap and globe: • Water system in city: • Waste water system pictures: • Pictures of potters wheel and definition of clay:

  29. References (cont’d) • Terracotta warriors: • What is clay picture: • Clay monster: • Reclaimed clay: • Tuckers clay: • White Clay River: • Information on types of clay: • Ancient bowl: • Clay pictures for what we will learn:

  30. References (cont’d) • Pinch pot pictures: • Student pinch pot: • Coil pot technique and pictures: • Navajo Coil Pot: • Navajo sweeping design pot: • Coil pot in progress: • Coil design pot by Laurie Bartlett: • Buckets for rinsing clay:

  31. References (cont’d) • Man with clothes peg on his nose: • Clay mess: • Brilliant person: • Being resilient: • Quote on resiliency: • Mugs drying: • Dog cleaning up: • Broken mug: • Globe in hand: • Storm sewer: • Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics: • Clay tablet:

  32. References (cont’d) • Storm sewer to lake picture: • Storm sewer template: • US government water cycle: • Water collection without city system: • Cleaning supplies: • Vacuum cleaner dust: - • Clay tools: • Cross hatching clay to join: • Clay slip: - • Cutting clay block and bucket of clay bits: • Steps:

  33. References (cont’d) • Push clay together: - • Slab construction: • Plastic containers: • Wrapping clay in plastic: • Slab birdhouses: • Dipping the object into glaze: • Kiln: • Pour glaze and swirl: • Baby going crazy: • We can do it poster:

  34. References (cont’d) • Boy resiliency: • Bags of clay: • Clay gargoyle: • Clay on hands: • Moisturizer: • Washing hands: • Banksy cleaning up: • What would you attempt? • • Clay tablet:

  35. References (cont’d) • Ball of clay: • Bag of clay: • Rolling out the clay, slab method: • Air pockets in clay: • Broken clay in kiln: • Cross hatch and slip: • Leather hard stage: • 2nd picture of terra cotta leather hard: • Bone dry and glazed leaves:

  36. References (cont’d) • Bisqueware: • Glazed bowls: • Glazes: • Glaze colours: • Clay construction: • Pinchpot faces: • Pinchpot flower: • Pinchpot amphora: • Pinchpot fish: • Contemporary clay dwellings: • Hopi home: • Rattle pinch pot video: • This video on pinch pots is by Neil Patterson: • Coil construction video: • Curriculum expectations: Ontario Curriculum Grades 9 and 10, The Arts • Statistical information on available fresh water: