Saturday, April 21, 2012

Birdbath Sculptures with Melted Glass Water

I saw this idea posted on smART Class blog a year or so ago and thought it would be a great project for 4th graders.


















The original picture is from Mayco's project section on their website. It looked like it could be done using pinch pots - so we gave it a try!


It took us two(45min) class periods to create the sculpture. The first class we used two pinch pots to create the birdbath. Students added designs into the clay using various tools, shells, and found objects. 
 The next class we finished any designs on our sculptures and added a bird and put them out on a table for us to admire and let dry. The reactions of the other students in and out of the Art room - Oooo's and Aww's mixed with some jealousy - created an air of excitement that made the two classes working on these even more anxious to finish them.


After Spring Break our pots had been bisque fired and were ready to glaze! Students used a variety of colors of glazes on their clay pieces. We use low-fire clay and glazes at the elementary level in our district.
We dropped a couple of glass marble pieces into the middle of the piece after the glaze was applied. I had seen this done on other art teacher's blogs, but had never tried it. The students were excited to learn that they would be the first classes to try this. "You mean you've never done this before Mrs. G? How do you know it will work?"  I just shrugged my shoulders and said - "I guess we will find out!"

Here they are ready to go in the kiln for the glaze firing - 





















I couldn't wait to take these out of the kiln!  Here are some of the finished pieces. I did notice some of the birdbaths with wider tops needed an extra marble or two, and the color choice of glaze did affect how the blue marbles looked when melted. So I will use this knowledge to guide my two other 4th grade classes who are about to glaze theirs.










30 comments:

  1. Congratulations! These sculptures are magnificent. The glaze gives a great finish. Smart Class Consultare blog to see if I can cheer like you. I have many doubts, the oven is special for the clay?
    A hug and see you soon.

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  2. What a neat idea! Did you fire the kiln to Cone 05?
    ~Jessica (missyoungsartroom.blogspot.com)

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    1. Yes Jessica - they were glazed fired to Cone 05.

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  3. These combine so many great techniques and look so cool!
    I just discovered the glass marble thing this year and love it. Magic:)

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  4. I just love seeing your projects... Your students are very lucky to have you as their teacher!
    Keep up the great work!! And thank you for your inspiration!!

    Debra in Wisconsin!

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    1. Thank you very much for your kind words Debra!

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  5. Super cute - well done! Can't wait to try the glass marble thing!

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    1. Thanks Anne! 2 of the classes took their sculptures home today and were so excited. Let me know how things come out when you try adding the marbles in one of your projects!

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  6. These appear to be the little flattened glass pebbles you would find in a floral department. Did you try any regular round toy type marbles? Would they work the same?

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    1. Yes these were those flat glass pebbles -but regular round glass marbles will melt just the same! These were just easier to get a large quantity of the same color - less cost also.

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  7. Love these sweet sculptures. Do you know if this would work if firing to cone 6?

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    1. From what I've read others have tried at higher temps I believe it would. Of course I would experiment before trying with students. I'm wondering if the higher temp would take some of the color out of the glass. Let us all know if you experiment!

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    2. I just did this project, and added the beads. I fired at cone 06 and it was a disaster! My stilts I had in the kiln for another grade's projects actually melted to the shelves. The color on the bird baths came out dull and gray and unattractive. I'm really not sure what else I did wrong. I fired at medium and at 06. :( so sad! I had such high hopes!

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    3. That sounds like your fired at cone 6 instead of 06 or your kiln malfunctioned. It has to have been way too hot. I have seen this result when a colleague of mine did a glaze firing and accidentally hit 6 instead of 06. I hit review on the kiln control panel and it showed that it fired at 6. Check your kiln. Run a test with some cones. This shouldn't have happened if it fired correctly.

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  8. this is a wonderful idea! good job trying it out!

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  9. great first try

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  10. what colour did u use ?? really nice work

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  11. Theresa ...I am impressed at the students artistic ability...Awesome! I have a question...If I were to use polymer clay that bakes in the regular kitchen oven and use the glass marbles...do you suppose they would melt? I do not have a kiln...ugh

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    1. I don't think so - but plastic pony beads would and may give the same look.

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  12. Two questions- where did you buy the marbles? And if there was a hole in the bird bath (as my students' projects are often not perfect) would the glass melt and then go through the hole and go all over the kiln and make an impossible to clean up mess?

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  13. I've done this project with second graders without a pedestal which makes it an easy one class project. When I fired at 05, the glass crazed but only under the surface. It feels smooth on top. I may fire at 06 next time since my glaze is 05-06.

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  14. Fired mine (a test, thank goodness) at 06 and the glass bubbled... any tips?

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  15. Would you be able to share what you learned about how glaze affects the color of the glass?

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  16. Well they sure look beautiful! I bet the kids had a great time.

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