This “Feeling Sculpture” may be the most relaxing clay project you’ll ever do. My students loved it so much, they asked to do it again the next week! Ages 5-85 can all have fun with this project that could double as therapy.
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 them started out trying not to look but ended up settling on various combinations of looking and not looking.
What makes this Feeling Sculpture even more unique
I updated this project by choosing to leave the clay inside a small plastic bag while shaping it. This 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!
- 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 heavy duty paper plates
- 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 and fire on stilts or (b) wipe the glaze off all the ridges with a small sponge. 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).
- Remind students to carefully carve their name or initials into one of the sections, but only after they’re finished handling it.
- It can be helpful to place the sculpture on a small paper plate with the student’s name on it. This way you won’t have to hunt for the name to know who it belongs to. Even a piece of paper with the student’s name tucked underneath can save the day if someone forgets to carve their name. Then double-check before it dries and add the name yourself if you need to.
- You may want to have something sturdy (like a heavy-duty paper plate or small board) underneath in case you need to move a sculpture before it’s fully dry.
- With these Feeling Sculptures, the sky’s the limit and the possibilities are endless. Like my students, you’ll probably want to make more than one!