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Clay Birds nests and birds for young ones

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From: linda (lwoods_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sat Mar 09 2002 - 11:04:00 PST


I have had 3 emails since my last post about how I go about the birds
nests, so I'll just write it here in case anyone else is interested.

Before the bird's nest prorject, kids are studying birds in science, and
they research birds and paint some inkbrushline birds on 18x24 white. They
do about 4 of these and then choose their 2 favorites to paint. I'm not
too strict about realism, here, but I want them to look at birds. They
are a wonderful combination of pretty dang good anatomy and made up
whimsy. One painting will go to the Texas Children's Hospital and the
other went home.
Following this, they do the clay birds and nest lesson.

Day one: Pinch pot lesson, eggs (how DO you make them smooth, roundish,
not have points, etc?), flowers to put on the nests, branches for some to
sit on, if they get that far. Texturing, too.

Day two: Mama bird making demo...basic bird shape...head, body and tail
out of one piece, starting with a block that gets squeezed into a rounded
cylindrical form. They know when to stop squeezing when the cylinder is
as fat as they want the mama's tummy to be, as that will be the fattest
part of the bird. Then they bend the top and the bottom of the cylinder
in opposite directions, forming something that looks kind of like an S
shape. THe top becomes the head and gets a beak squeezed out of it. The
bottom becomes the tail. Wings either get added on with slip, or they can
dampen a finger, push a little along the side of the body and pop out the
wing in relief. Details are added ... texture patterns, plumes on top of
the heads, etc. some kids make bugs to go in or on the nests, too. And I
have had an occasional snake find it's way into the nests..oh my.

We glaze them with low fire glazes. I make these in the fall...kids have
great christmas presents.

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