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Imagine me: immortalized in clay.

"Imagine me immortalized in clay! I used to sculpt portraits from silly putty when I was six, but now that I am 12 and have the opportunity to use real sculpting white talc clay and then fire in a kiln--that's awesome!"

These words came from one of my students when I showed them a self-portrait I had done in clay and then fired. It was a mask and could be used as a wall hanging.

Students first took pictures of each other. It was important to get two side views and a front view. They took slides (to look at themselves on the big screen) and snapshots to be used along with a mirror to study the face. (If cameras are not available, students could sketch each other.) The students chose to do realistic images of themselves or caricatures.

Students rolled up balls of newspaper and fastened them with masking tape to make the base shape of a head. They then rolled out clay and formed it over the shape. A few students used plaster slump molds to get their forms, and some just rolled out a shape, cut it in half and scooped the excess clay out to make a shell.

The students looked into mirrors and studied the photographs to observe what they wanted to create. Some of the exaggerated caricatures were great and friends helped point out which features to exaggerate. Some of the girls put clay through an extruder or garlic press and made natural-looking hair.

When the portraits were finished, dried and bisque fired the students decided to use either a dear transparent glaze or a clear matte glaze. They felt the clear glaze was most successful.

Murley Kay Kight teachers art at Carson Middle School, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
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Title Annotation:self-portraits in clay
Author:Kight, Murley Kay
Publication:School Arts
Date:Jan 1, 1991
Words:293
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