Unwind with a Ceramic “Feeling Sculpture”

Unwind with a Ceramic 'Feeling Sculpture'This may be the most relaxing clay project you’ll ever do. My students loved it so much, they asked to do it again! 

Credit for this awesome project goes to my daughter’s high school Ceramics teacher, Mr. Emery. He challenged his students to form the clay with their eyes closed (!), but I made that optional for my students…. most of whom tried it but settled on some combination of looking/not looking.

I also added the plastic bag, which not only helps with prepping the clay ahead of time and passing it out quickly, but it also feels wonderful in your hands! When you begin forming the clay with the plastic bag still on it, you really get a feel for the plastic nature of the clay. You’re able to manipulate, shape, and smooth the clay without it drying out at all. Your hands stay clean. And it feels amazing!! It’s hard to describe…. you’ll just have to try this and experience it for yourself!

You’ll Need:

  • Ball of clay, about the size of a small orange (I like to use white clay for this project)
  • Sandwich baggie (the fold ‘n close type, not the zip-lock kind)
  • Glazes and brushes
  • Small sponge

Follow these simple steps:

Tips for Success:

  • Try to make your sculpture no thicker than 1/4″ or so at any point.
  • Make sure the ridges are strong and not fragile.
  • Be careful not to fold the clay over on itself, as this could create air bubbles in the clay – and explosions in the kiln!
  • Part of the beauty of this project is that it can rest in a variety of positions. This only works if you (a) glaze the whole thing or (b) wipe the glaze off all the ridges. Either way, choose the side that best accommodates stilts to set it on for firing. If you wipe the glaze off all the ridges, you may find a side where no glaze will touch the shelf and then you won’t even need to set it on stilts to fire it!
  • It can also be effective to add a hole or holes through your sculpture (as one student did in the bottom right photo).
  • These sculptures make wonderful paperweights and can also serve as “worry stones” because they feel so good to turn over and over in your hands!
  • You can also add texture if you want (see first photo in the second row).
  • The sky’s the limit and the possibilities are endless…. like my students, you may want to make more than one!

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