Cassie Stephens

cassiestephens.blogspot.com · May 7, 2015

In the Art Room: First Grade Slab Fish and Under the Sea Sculptures


If you've been a-thinkin' that there's something fishy about this here blog post, you are correct, friend! My first grade friends just finished off these hilariously expressive fish and I just can't stop lookin' -n- laughin' at 'em. They have just as much silliness as the wee artists that created them. This was a fun 30 minute art class project that I know your kids would love to do so I just had to share it with y'all!
To start, every kid was given a grapefruit-ish sized piece of clay. I use cone 06 clay and I love it. I had a little selection of doilies, burlap an textured fabrics on each table for the kids to use as the "scales" of their fishy friend.
The clay was then annihilated by the pounding fists of the first grade set. Our rule is pound it as flat as a cookie but no more. I also chat with them about how the clay should be level like a plain. There should be no peaks or valleys. Once it's smooth-ish, they peal it away from the fabric to reveal the texture underneath...
Which always gets a multitude of Oooooh's and AAAAaaaah's.
Once the fabric is pealed away, the clay is then cut into a circle shape. I had coffee lids for the kids to trace.
The excess clay trimmed off was then used for the whites of the fishes eyes. Two spheres were rolled and then flattened for this part.

In my art room, we use the terms "slip and score" but an old ratty toothbrush is used for the job of scoring.
Boom, two eyes.
Smaller spheres for the pupils. AND just in case any of the clay is too thick, we used the back of our skewer stick to poke two pupils in the iris.
For the mouth, we rolled a coil.
With both the eyes and mouth, we talked about expression. So, your fish could be surprised...
Or fishy-mouthed...
Or happy with a touch of possible constipation. It's up to you!
Next up, we pounded another piece of clay flat onto a texture. I love how this photo looks like my fish is eyeballing the clay as if it were a cookie.
Cut in half...
Now use one piece as the tail and the other as the fin!
Cut out a section for the top fin and, viola! Fishy is finished!
Once out of the kiln, these lil guys were given color with bright oil pastels. Then they were dipped into a bath of watery ink (although watery tempera would work as well)...
And, ta-da! Seriously, aren't these little guys a total crack up?!
Since the kids didn't exactly experience sculpting with this slab clay project, I thought I'd introduce them to this art form another way. I picked up some pink insulation foam from the local hardware store that I scored and broke into pieces.
This project was a great review of abstract, line names and sculpture. Each child had so much fun with their creation and I loved how fun and funky each turned out.
Each compliments it's fish so nicely. This is definitely a project I'll be doing again. Hope you will give it a go as well. Smell y'all later!


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