Clay Slab Building: Lanterns
slab building is a type of clay construction that uses leather hard slabs to create structures aclay glue known as slip is used to help stick the clay slabs together
clay slab building is like cardboard construction can you think of important skills or tools you might need for slab building?
slabs are great for cutting out shapes or for drawing on what do these shapes look like? how might you create them?
there are lots of interesting things to do with slabs Daryl Baird Kurt Wiesner Chris Theiss what do these pieces make you think about?
we are going to learn five important things to help us construct our lanterns: • how to roll a slab • how to make a slab cylinder • how to cut out shapes and decorate • how to use the scoreand slip joining method • how to make a base and lid
can you list the different places you find light? Let’s try make some drawings of each light source
create simple patterns from the shapesin your drawings use these to decorate our lanterns
can you think of another great energy that comes from the sun? Heat this means that Light Energyalso gives us Heat Energy
our lanterns will help us observe and analyse the properties of light and heat energy can you remember the building technique we are going to use ? SLAB BUILDING what rawmaterials are we using? CLAY & SLIP
did you know that plates, cups, saucers& teapots are all made from clay? how do you think they got so strong? HEAT ENERGY
Activity 1. Clay Preparation: Slab Rolling MDF boards You will need: Rolling Pin Sheet of tough cloth Newspaper Twotimber laths (9mm)
shape ball into a cuboid roll clay into a ball, roughly 9cm diameter set up the timber laths like train tracks, so that the rolling pin stays on the tracks tape down the laths at both ends
lay half of the sheet over the laths and place down the clay fold the rest of the sheet over the clay andstart rolling back and forth
the clay is ready when the rolling pin runs smoothly catch both ends of the sheet to pick up the clay
flip the slab onto an MDF board stack the slabs putting 6 sheets of newspaper in between each layer
Activity 2. Slip Preparation You will need: • A bucket/jars • Small lumps of clay (dry clay works the best) • Water • Mixing sticks 1/3 Water 2/3 Clay slip is just clay that has been watered down
the best slip has a texture like thick cream slip should be left to sit for at least one day, then it needs to be mixed
can you remember the tools you suggested we use for slab building? • pencil • knife • ruler • paints we also need: aerosol cans, candles, wine bottles, fork, nails, work boards, LED light
Activity 3.Experiment cut a small slab draw some designs carefully cut out designs poke holes all the way through
put your piece up to the light this is what your designs will look like through the lantern light
Activity 4. Clay Lantern measure and mark a clay slab rectangle cut it out. a rectangle’s opposite sides are parallel and equal in length
use the can / bottle to roll the slab until it overlaps waste roll back the slab & cut away the waste
scoring scratch score marks into the clay flip the slab upside down & repeat on the opposite side
decorating create patterns on the slab and carefully cut them out keep it simple otherwise your lantern will collapse
final roll & slipping roll up the slab & spread slip on the scored areas complete the roll so the clay overlaps slide out the can / bottle
base & lid using a pencil mark around the inside&outside of the cylinder cut around the outside circle for two pieces& the inside circle for one piece
score all one side score outside edge score inside which circle do you think the cylinder should be joined to? clue - only scored surfaces should be joined together score only bottom end
press cylinder base & circle base together press the remaining circles together – this will be the lid what do you think the function of the small circle is? clue– it’s not a handle
the small circle sits into the cylinder & holds the lid in place notice there is a handle on this lid. why not try make your own? remember the process
let’s light the lantern always get an adult to help when using the candle when the clay is nearly dry you can paint it
how can we use the lanterns to investigate the properties of natural & artificial light ? Candle LED Light turn off the classroom lights! record and discuss the differences between the two types
put different materials up to the light which ones are: transparent, translucent or opaque? why do you think they are so?
place a prism in front of the light. can you count the colours? now use a mirror, what happens?
hot air experiment only to be attempted with an adult about twelve candles are needed for this to work large bags work best look what is happening to the bag. what is going on here?
Robot Vase Lighthouse Chimney Where to next ? Submarine Lampshade Rocket Can you think of other things you could make out of clay cylinders? Helmet Cup
Slide 1 Overview - This craft lesson plan is designed to help teachers build a confidence in delivering clay based lessons while employing slab building techniques used by professional craftspeople. The objective of the lesson is to construct a candle lantern. Students will use problem solving skills to plan, measure and create their piece. Throughout the lesson questions are asked that encourage discussion and the recording of information. On completion of the lesson participants will have developed a number of new construction skills and a greater knowledge of the clay discipline. Health and Safety – Before undergoing any of the clay exercises cutting demonstrations must be given and students must always be supervised while using cutting instruments. If using a candle or naked flame caution should be taken at all times. It is preferable if students only visually observe the lanterns when candle is in use. Ignition of the candle should be carried out by teachers. Suitable for class groups – Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Students will learn – How to prepare a clay slab How to make slip How to make a clay cylinder How to decorate and cut out shapes How to make a base and a lid About light and heat energy How to investigate and analyse using evidence Integrated Learning - The lesson will integrate the science programme and will develop conceptual understanding and procedural understanding of light and heat (radiation) energy. Student will then work scientifically to observe, analyse and evaluate the characteristics of their topics. Numeracy and literacy are also integrated through the various activities. Students need to organise tools and plan a working procedure in order to follow the necessary steps. Pieces need to be measured and estimated correctly to achieve a successful outcome. The questions that are asked throughout and the suggestions of keeping a written record will help develop a comprehension of what is being done and insures the knowledge will sustain long after the project is over. Timeline – Minimum 1 hour preparation and 2 hours delivery
Slide 2 Slab building is a type of clay construction that uses leather hard clay slabs to create structures. A clay glue known as slip is used to help stick the clay slabs together. The best type of slabs to work with are ones which have been left dry to a leather hard state. There are many other ways to create artefacts from clay such as wheel throwing, slip casting (which uses liquid clay and plaster moulds) and hand sculpting. Slide 3 Important skills needed for slab building are – accuracy in cutting and measuring, being careful with tools, good at planning so everything fits together, listen to and follow instructions, etc.. Tools needed for slab building – ruler, knife, pencil, cutting board For the construction of the lantern other tools are also needed – Aerosol Cans, Wine Bottles, Fork, Workboards, Nails, Candle, LED (small battery powered light) Slide 4 Slabs are also really great for cutting out shapes or for drawing on. When left to dry the leather hard state slabs are still soft enough to be sliced easily with a knife but hard enough not to warp or go out of shape. These shapes were firstly drawn onto the slab and then carefully cut out using a knife. Tools such as rulers and compasses work really well when making shapes out of slabs. Slide 5 The blue and white vase was made by Kurt Wiesner who is from America. The vase is one of a pair entitled, “Cubist Vases”. It was decorated with coloured underglaze and a transparent glaze. The black and white piece was made by Chriss Theiss who is also from America. Her piece is called “Kitchen”. It was decorated with coloured slip. The golden brown piece was made by Daryl Baird. It was decorated with a coloured glaze. All of these pieces were created using slabs. Student’s attention should be brought to the colours and forms of each piece. Slide 6 Roll a slab – this involves rolling a ball of clay into a flat slab of clay. Slab Cylinder – this uses the flat slab to create a three dimensional cylinder. Cut out shapes and decorate – explains how to cut shapes from slabs and how these can decorate the lanterns. Score and Slip – this is process of how the slabs can be joined together. Base and lid – this will explain how a base and lid can be added to the cylinder to create the functioning lantern. All the highlighted words are keywords that will be used throughout the lesson.
Slide 8 Students should be encouraged to suggest other places or things where light can be found or that are associated with light. Students should spend time drawing some of their ideas. These drawings should come from student’s imaginations or from direct observations so their own interpretations shine through. As they draw they should be asked to describe their ideas further – What shapes are in the places and objects they are describing? What colours are these types of lights? Facts about the physical features of students ideas that will aid their abilities to visually communicate. Slide 9 Which ones are Natural and which ones are Artificial? Students should be asked to categorise the examples into a list for each. Other categorisations should also be asked for – Where would each example be found? What is the function of each ? Which ones are large and which ones are small? These written and oral exercises will benefit the student’s overall comprehension of places and objects that have been suggested. Slide 10 Students should be influenced by the shapes and colours in their light sources and create simple patterns and visual rhythms. This task is asking students to think in an abstract way. Abstraction is a very important concept in art. Abstraction means not to describe an object exactly for what it is or what it does, but instead to focus on its forms and structures. Perhaps a list of the keywords that were suggested earlier could be shown: Shapes - Round, Circular, Square, Rectangle, Pointy, Triangle Straight, Long These drawings will be used to cut shapes into the clay and decorate the lanterns. Simplicity of design is key to insure a successful and easy transfer onto clay. This is the first stage of the design process – idea development. This is a similar stage to any other product design project. Ideas are being taken from primary/secondary sources and are being developed for a particular design need; simple decoration that can be easily transferred onto the chosen material.
Slide 11 What is the best natural source of light that you know of? It should be asked of students here to not only name the source but describe it – What shapes is it?, What colour?, What is their idea of how big it is? How does it help us? Does it move around the earth or does the earth move around it? Slide 12 Can you think of another great energy that comes from the sun? Again students should not only name the energy but describe it – function, advantages and disadvantages Slide 13 “Our lanterns will help us observe and analyse the properties of light and heat energy.” This statement should be clearly related back to the students so that they are aware of the outcomes of this project and the relativity of the research they are taking part in. Ask students can they remember any other points that were mentioned about slab building – Clay needs to be rolled into slabs. Slabs should be leather hard. Slab building is like cardboard construction. Slabs are great for drawing on and cutting out shapes. Students should be made aware of the term – raw materials. Slide 14 Most kitchenware is made from wheel throwing or slip casting. Wheel throwing is where a lump of clay is shaped by hand while it is spun around on a flat wheel. Slip casting is when liquid clay is poured into a plaster mould and forms the shape of the mould. When the clay is dry it is put into a large kiln which is kind of like an oven. The clay normally goes through two firings. The first firing is a bisque firing and goes up to 1040°C. After the bisque firing the pieces are dipped into a glaze and are put back into the kiln for the glaze firing. Depending on the glaze and the type of clay this firing can go from 1100°C to 1300°C. Slide 15 Activity 1 – Clay Preparation: Slab Rolling Materials – Sheet of tough cloth, Timber laths (9mm), Newspaper, MDF Boards (large and small workboards – do not use plastic boards or the clay will stick to them), Newspaper. It would be preferable if the grouping of materials in the slide could be shared between 4 students. This will encourage co-operation and peer learning.Most of these materials the students could bring from home.
Slide 16 Activity 1 – Slab Rolling Step 1 – Each student should be given a lump of clay and a work board. They should be instructed to roll the lump into a sphere/ball shape. The 9cm is a rough measurement but if the ball is much bigger rolling might be a problem and if much smaller the slab may not be big enough to wrap around the cylinder later on. Step 2 – Students should then shape the clay into a cuboid. The lump should be no bigger than 10cm in width and 4cm thickness. Step 3 – The timber laths act like train tracks for the rolling pin. It should run up and down along them without falling off so the position of the laths should be parallel to each other. They should be set up on top of a large board to protect the desk. Step 4 – Each end of the laths should be taped down so they do not move during rolling. Slide 17 Step 5 – Lay half of the sheet down on top of the laths and board. Make sure the sheet is flat as folds and wrinkles can damage the slab. Place the clay down on top of the sheet between the two laths. Step 6 – Fold the rest of the sheet over the clay. Again make sure there are no wrinkles. Start rolling back and forth over the clay. Make sure the rolling pin “stays on the tracks”. If the rolling pin goes off the laths the slab may become too thin. Slide 18 Step 7 – To check the slab fold back the sheet. If rolling gets difficult try flipping the slab over and rolling the other side. When rolling becomes smooth and easy the slab is ready Step 8 – Before the slab is moved the drying area and board should be made ready for the clay. When moving the slab do not catch the clay itself as this will warp the piece. Pick up the slab by taking each end of the sheet. Two students could take an end each if this makes it easier. Slide 19 Step 9 – The slab should be flipped onto the board as shown in the image. Try to do this in one quick movement. Step 10 – Ideally a sheet of MDF is put in between each layer of slabs to let dry. However newspaper is just as good, so put 6 sheets between each layer. This activity should be done the afternoon before the main lantern lesson begins as they need to dry over night. When ready the slabs should be at a leather hard state. Slide 20 Activity 2 – Slip Preparation Materials/Tools – Large bucket or collection of jars, Small lumps of clay ( dry clay is broken down easier by water but wet clay can be used aswell), Water, Mixing stick (if available a blender works really well here) Slip is just clay that has been watered down. To think in fractions there would be one third water to two thirds clay.
Slide 21 The lumps of clay should be put into the bucket or jars and water should then be added. This should then be left for at least a day and then mixed. If using jars shake the mixture to help break the clay down. Add more water if needed. The best slip has a texture of thick cream. Slide 22 Make a list of tools that were suggested at the start of the lesson – Pencil, Knife, Ruler, Paints etc. For the construction of the lantern other tools are also needed – Aerosol Cans, Wine Bottles, Fork, Workboards, Nails, Candle, LED (small battery powered light). Slide 23 Activity 3 – Decorating Experiment Health and Safety – This activity involves the use of a knife. A demonstration of safety should be given before activity begins. Step 1 – Cut out a small slab, about the size of your palm. Step 2 – Use the simple patterns and rhythms drawn earlier to decorate the slab. Use a pencil to draw onto the slab. Step 3 – Use the knife to carefully cut out the shapes. Step 4 – Using the nail poke holes all the way through the slab. Slide 24 Advise students to put the pieces up to the light and observe the light shining through the holes. This is what the designs will look like through the lantern light. Bring the students attention to the use of the holes as an alternative solution to cutting out shapes and drawing lines. In the world of product design this activity would be referred to as creating a prototype. A protoype is used to test out a particular design to see if it functions correctly. Once this process is completed ask the students to discuss the process – What did they find easy or difficult? If doing it again what would they do differently? Slide 25 Activity 4 – Clay Lantern Each student should be given a leather hard clay slab and a work board Step 1 – Measure and mark a rectangle into the slab. The rectangle must wrap around the can/bottle so it should be at least 35cm in length (this depends on the cylinder you are using; a thinner can/bottle will allow for a smaller length). The width will decide how tall the lantern will be this should be at least 10cm. Step 2 – Use a ruler with the knife when cutting the rectangle out. Make sure the shape looks right before cutting. A rectangle’s opposite sides are parallel and equal in length.
Slide 26 Roll up the cylinder. Teacher preparation – the cylinder should be covered by a sheet of paper to avoid the clay sticking to it. Roll up the bottle/can in an A4 sheet and stick it using masking tape. The bottle/can should be able to slip out from the surrounding paper. Step 3 - Use the can/bottle to roll up the slab until it overlaps about 1cm. Draw a line to mark the overlap. Working in pairs may be an option here to make the process easier. Step 4 – Roll back the slab and cut away the waste using the ruler and knife together. The more the clay is handled the more it dries out and becomes brittle. Try to handle the clay as little as possible. Roll the clay up once or twice at the most. Slide 27 Scoring Scoring helps when sticking the clay together later on. Step 5 – Using the knife or nail scratch a criss-cross pattern about 1cm along the edge. It is important not to do this too lightly but also not to cut through the clay either. We are only scratching the surface. Step 6 – Flip the clay over, left side flipping over right so that the scored edge is facing down. Repeat the scoring process at the opposite end. Slide 28 Decorating Step 7 – Use the earlier drawings and clay prototype to help create the patterns and designs for the main piece. Advise students to use the lessons they learned while creating the prototype to help create the final drawings. It is important to keep the drawings simple and to leave at least 2cm from the edges of the rectangle. Also if too much clay is taken from the centre the lantern will collapse. The top image is a good example for most students to stick by. The bottom type of designing could be suggested for students who are excelling. Slide 29 Final Roll and Slipping Step 8 – Roll up the slab again and slip both of the scored surfaces. Quickly score over the wet clay again. This process could again be made easier if students work in pairs. Step 9 – Complete the roll so the clay over laps. Roll the clay back and forth over the overlap pressing down a bit so it sticks together. Slide out the can/bottle and carefully peel off the paper from inside the clay cylinder. Once this process is completed ask the students to discuss the process – What did they find easy or difficult? If doing it again what would they do differently?
Slide 30 Base and Lid Step 10 – Place the cylinder on top of a flat slab. Be careful with the cylinder as it can be easily put out of shape. Use a pencil to mark around the outside and inside of the cylinder. This needs to be done three times. Step 11 - Cut around the outside circle for two pieces, and the inside circle for one piece. Slide 31 Step 12 – Score – The outside edge of the first big circle The inside of the second big circle All one side of the small circle Bottm end of the cylinder Which pieces do you think should be joined together? Clue - only scored surfaces will be joined Ask the students to use the pieces to investigate and answer the question. Ask student to identify which pieces will be part of the base and which ones part of the lid. Slide 32 The cylinder and circle with outside edge scored go together to form the base. The big circle with the inside scored and small circle go together to form the lid. Step 13 – Spread slip over all the scored areas then score again over wet slip. Slide 33 Step 14 – Press the base cylinder and base circle together. Clean off the excess slip with the knife. Step 15 – Press the lid pieces together. Clean off the excess slip with knife. Ask the students what do they think the function of the small circle is? Clue – it’s not a handle. Allow them to use the pieces to investigate the answer to the question. Slide 34 The small circle sits into the cylinder and holds the lid in place. Step 17 – Draw students attention to the handle on the lantern featured on the slide. Advise students to create their own handle. They must follow the score and slip technique no matter what the design is. Students should use their previous pattern drawings to design the handle. Note – the handle should not be used until the piece is fully dry and painted as it may fall off
Slide 35 The lantern can be painted when the clay is almost dry. It is advisable to paint only the outside of the lantern as the heat from the candle may produce an odour from paint inside. The colour scheme should be discussed before application. Students should use the information that they gathered through the previous research to decide on colour. Colours related to the theme may produce a better visual effect for the overall design. Lighting the lantern. Health and Safety – Safety should be discussed and demonstrated before the lighting of the candle. The candle should only be lit by an adult. Fire is extremely dangerous. If long matches are available it may be easier to place the candle into the lantern and light it through one of the design holes. If not, light the candle and carefully drop it into the lantern. Slide 36 Investigation and Discussion Time. This should be carried out in groups of 4 or 5 so students can converse and learn from one another. Slide 37 How can we use the lanterns to investigate the properties of natural and artificial light ? Referring to the categorisation list created at the start of the lesson students should decide on how this is to be carried out, selecting what light sources would work best with the lanterns. Note – if the LED light does not fit into the lantern turn it upside down and sit it on top of the lantern in place of the lid. Students should contrast the differences between the two – Topics to highlight – Brightness, Colour, Heat, Resistance to wind, Nicest to look at and why A list could be created of the advantages and disadvantages of each – Environmentally friendly etc....... Slide 38 Collect a range of different materials – paper, toilet paper, plastic, wood, netting, cardboard, tracing paper, coloured paper and plastic Investigate, Discuss and Record which ones are – Transparent - allowing light to pass through with little or no interruption Translucent – allowing light to pass through but objects on the other side cannot be clearly distinguished Opaque – Resistant to light, Solid. Light cannot pass through.