Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Clay Bells are ringing with second Graders...

Clay Bells with Second Graders!

Completed bells and their " clangers"

Bisque fired ( fired once) and glazed but not yet fired again our transformed pinch pots are waiting to morph into beautiful bells. 

Just in time for the holidays second graders completed their fabulous clay bells. This was my first time firing the Y.E.S. kiln and it worked like a charm.  
Detailing and embellishing the bells. 
Students started by practicing their clay techniques of rolling and making small balls.  We then made larger pinch pots using a technique learned at Rowe School with Mrs. Landry.  We pulled our pots a bit taller and wider than we might have otherwise, checked that our clay balls could fit inside with space to ring as clangers, added a hole at what would become the top but was originally the bottom of the pot  and then embellished the exteriors with designs and texture. 

The bells were then bisque fired ( fired to 1900 degrees over a period of 12 hours to be hard and strong).  We then used artists glazed that added beautiful array of colors to the bells.  I fired them again, this time to a slightly lower temp and what we call a fast burn of 4 to 5 hours. The glazes melt to become beautiful and glassy. 

To assemble the bells adult help was needed.  If you are a parent of a second grader and read this feel free to adjust the order of the clangers; the length, order and number of clangers all effect the sounds of each bell. 

To see the kids faces when the finally got their bells in hand was pretty special. For some classes I had to hand them directly to their teachers as there was a time crunch but for others it was a treat for me. Kids were proud, they were curious about the sounds and very excited to bring them home. I hear more than one child discussing who they might give this precious bell too... I do hope they can ring in the new year for all our Y.E. S. second graders. It was an exceptionally rewarding unit for me.

Some vocabulary we learned in this unit:  raw clay, bisque ware, green ware, glaze ware, kiln and fire.
Oh and I almost forgot we also watched a great Youtube clip showing how clay is mined and refined.  It was fascinating and informative. Ask your child about it. I would be curious to know their take away from it. 

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