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What can I do with clay and no kiln?

Discussion in 'Art and design' started by legoearth, Feb 12, 2012.

  1. legoearth

    legoearth New commenter

    I have loads of clay in my cupboard at school left to me by a lovely teacher a few years ago. THEN we had a kiln. It broke down and before I could get it repaired it was removed and an office put in it's place[​IMG]but that's another story.
    Anyway I have about 40 + kilos of clay and all the glazes and paint. I have contemplated trading with the local secondary school for something we could use. I run an after school A&T art and dt group (mainly yr6 ). I would love to use the clay though! I have looked at wood firing briefly but can't see the head letting me have a fire pit in the grounds although there is plenty of room for one. Has anybody actually tried this? I couldn't do anything too elaborate! I've made coil pots during greek week but obviously they are just crumbling after air drying!
    Any ideas or experiences please[​IMG]
     
  2. legoearth

    legoearth New commenter

    I have loads of clay in my cupboard at school left to me by a lovely teacher a few years ago. THEN we had a kiln. It broke down and before I could get it repaired it was removed and an office put in it's place[​IMG]but that's another story.
    Anyway I have about 40 + kilos of clay and all the glazes and paint. I have contemplated trading with the local secondary school for something we could use. I run an after school A&T art and dt group (mainly yr6 ). I would love to use the clay though! I have looked at wood firing briefly but can't see the head letting me have a fire pit in the grounds although there is plenty of room for one. Has anybody actually tried this? I couldn't do anything too elaborate! I've made coil pots during greek week but obviously they are just crumbling after air drying!
    Any ideas or experiences please[​IMG]
     
  3. lizziegrace

    lizziegrace New commenter

    Hi! What sort of clay is it? If it is earthenware or better still crank then you could try an outdoor firing thing - don't think a firepit would get hot enough (we did one at college with an oil drum and burner - Raku - but it needed a competant ceramicist to oversee). Do you think the secondary school would fire things for you? Alternatively you could use the clay to make a mould for a plaster casting - I have done simple reliefs (found objects to create surface texture and patter in Klimt style) then build sides up with card and pour in plaster. Lovely negative relief of your clay which can be painted. Another idea is to use it as an eco-friendly "glue" and do some things outside in the environment along with scavanged materials such as twigs/leaves etv (have seen some beautiful photos of work stuck onto trees at my local community centre. Final idea is a Derbyshire style "Well Dressing" - flower petals/leaves/stones etc stuck into large slab of clay (following a design) to make a mosaic like image (used to mark celebration often).
    Hope this helps...?
    Liz
     
  4. legoearth

    legoearth New commenter

    Thankyou,some lovely ideas. I love the idea of the mould for negative reliefs I 'recovered' two large bags of plaster of paris that were about to be thrown out of science department! Well dressing is great too,I get lots of requests from yr3 wanting to join my group but my ideas are usually too ambitious for them,this would be great as I also run the school garden and want to jazz it up a bit so it doesn't look like a veg patch! . I'm also toying with the idea of building a brick kiln somewhere if I can get aroud SMT [​IMG] We are lucky to have a massive playing field!
     
  5. lizziegrace

    lizziegrace New commenter

    Sounds like you have a potential goldmine there...what other treasures will you unearth?!! :) A Brick kiln is a great idea - the firing is a bit hit and miss and I'd add some crank clay to your stuff if it's plain old terracotta just to beef it up a bit and make it less prone to thermal shock (ie when it splits and cracks) and would make a great feature - H+S might be an issue with the time it takes to cool...?! Plaster reliefs are truly lovely, make sure you encourage the kids to do plenty of "up and down" buy scraping some clay away to a lower level - anything can make a beautiful imprint but thin spikey things tend to crack off when you peel away the clay from the set plaster. You can paint them, or my favourite way is to paint a plain dark colour and dry brush some metallic paint over the top to make it look like copper or pewter!. You could do some super faces (or gargoyles...) this way too...hmmmm...want to have a go now!! Good luck
    Lizzie
     
  6. snugglepot

    snugglepot Occasional commenter

    Hi,
    Have you considered asking a local potter to fire it for you. I did this a few years ago. I took it to a potter that I had met through a workshop. She fired the work for about £10/15.It was a while ago so will be more expensive now but perhaps worth a try.
     
  7. Many years ago I had a group who made impressions in clay and using a frame or clay wall to make relief blocks. We cast them with cement mix working together rocking an old wooden drawer to mix the sand cement and water. By laying pebbles and other found objects on the surface you get interesting effects when the relief is cured and removed. By putting some bent thick zinc coated wire into the back of the block they were really easy to display on the school wall - we just hung them over round headed screws. The ones we made in 1986 are still there!! Nowadays there are loads of different 'cretes' which I have seen Kevin McCloud using on Grand Designs which might be interesting for older pupils to research in this Green society we are supposed to become. By adding reclaimed or recycling materials the kids might like to invent their own aggregate and experiment first. =- Good cross-curricular project?

     
  8. legoearth

    legoearth New commenter

    Thanks so much for the ideas! I'm thinking stepping stones for the garden with spent compost mixed in it 'ages' quickly! Gargoyles!! I'm not thinking of trading now,more whether I've got enoughclay for all these great ideas...
     

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