Thank you for all of your great advice yesterday! I definitely intend to file it away for the next time. This particular time, though, I decided that it might be best to just wing it. After all, I’ve been claying long enough that I am certainly comfortable with all of the techniques in my arsenal. Letting the girls look at all of my things and lead the process where they wanted it to go seemed like a good enough plan to me.
So, I started by showing them the steps I take to go from an inspiring piece of fabric to a pile of coordinating jewelry: mixing the colors, making the canes, making the jewelry. I passed around examples of each stage from the Alexander Henry Birdseed stuff I’d done, and in doing that, generated a lot of “how’d you make this?” kind of questions. They seemed most interested in my Triangle Cane design, so I let them pick three colors and I demoed it to them. They were really amazed at the three-way Skinner blend that cane is based on, so I sliced off a section of it to show them how it could be jellyrolled. Oohs and ahhs, all around – that technique is always good for that kind of reaction from people who’ve never seen it before, LOL!
So, I gave them each three colors of clay and a slice of the triangle cane we’d made. I showed them how to marble the colors, how to make heart shapes, and how to poke holes. Several of the girls wanted to use their three colors to make striped loaves, so I helped them with that, and I gave away slices of the Skinner jellyroll to those who asked.
It got a little crazy at times, since I only had one pasta machine with me, and I hadn’t thought to bring hole-poking tools aside from a single knitting needle. I also forgot to bring cord for stringing the beads. Still, those were just simple things to remember for next time. I think winging it was a good idea this first time around. The girls seemed to really have a blast with the clay, and I now know that fifth-graders like stacks of stripes, and pre-made Skinner-blended canes to play with. That will help me have a more defined plan if I do this again. And I may do it again… The local school district has an after-school enrichment program with eight-week sessions. I’m being encouraged to teach a clay class to the middle school crowd. The idea is somewhat intimidating, but less so today than it was yesterday, so that’s something, LOL!
By the way, we finally got the tree cleaned up. Just take a look at the size of this trunk! I put my feet there for scale. This tree really dwarfs my big feet and makes them look like they belong to a little kid, doesn’t it? You should see all the firewood we have…