Today for #ArtsyWednesdays we made clay decorations.
I used Das white air dry modelling clay, which Saint Nicholas brought to FriBoy (I make sure we ask for art supplies among other things).
It’s an artful sensory activity that’s beneficial in other ways than creatively. He loved the idea and spent a couple of hours playing with the clay in different ways. It’s the first time he is using clay like this and I am so proud of him for his effort and openness. A year ago he wouldn’t have touched it because of his sensitivity to textures.
So every time he does and accepts something new, it’s a small victory for us. To some this might seem trivial but for me it’s a huge progress, taking into account the first year and a half of his life I hardly went out of the house because he wouldn’t tolerate clothes. It also develops fine motor skills, precision and like any manual activity it enables children to get to know and use their bodies better, which in turn builds confidence.
We rolled the clay with a rolling pin and with a deodorant can for smaller pieces, we cut shapes with cookie dough cutters, shaped some figures from his drawings and also made some free sculptures. They have to dry for at least 24 hours before, sanding, painting and glazing. You can speed the process by drying the in the oven for a couple of hours at the minimum temperature, 50 C.
I let the clay dry for 2 days before we polished the pieces with imperfections and uneven edges. I had already used water when I shaped them just for this purpose, but extra polishing gives them a rounded edge and also eliminates cracks.
Dremel tools are excellent for this but if you don’t have one you can use sand paper and nail filers for hard to reach spots. Use a protective mask to avoid breathing in the dust. It’s better to do this outside if you can, this process makes a lot of dust. I got some help from little FriBoy, he loved to use the dremmel and the protective gear. I think it’s because he loves to work (no kidding ). He says going to school is his job and he loves to work there.
I painted them with Caran d’Ache gouache colors and glazed them with colorless nail polish. You can also use acrylics, watercolors and even colored nail polish. I prefer gouache because I like the opacity of it.