Children cut slices or slabs of clay from a larger piece using a cheese cutter, made out of a length of wire and two sticks. After kneading the clay to make it softer, children rolled out the clay on a piece of wet cloth to prevent from the clay sticking onto the surface. They then drew the shape of a fish using a wooden screwer (after improvising and talking about the importance of a sturdy shape so that it won't break during the firing and afterwards.) When they were sure of the shape, they pressed the stick till the bottom to cut out the shape.
Afterwards, they had the opportunity to engage in various clay modelling techniques, such as:
- Impressing: pressing an object into the clay to leave an impression/print of the object. These included plastic nozzles, wooden decorations, bottle tops, reels, straws, shells, pine cones, plastic forks and spoons.
- Applying: Applying pieces of clay on the clay itself. The children learned how to 'stick' a ball of clay for the fish's eye using 'slip' (potter's glue.) This is made up of small clay pieces and water, which produced a slippery texture. Children applied slip using their fingers on their fish where they wished to place the eye, pressed the tiny ball of clay and then pierced through the ball using the wide end and the narrower end of a plastic nozzle, which not only gave a more realistic dimension to the eye, but also ensured that it is stuck stronger in its place.
- Piercing: As explained above, when an object is pierced through the clay to leave a mark or to secure another pieces of clay.Another method of piercing was used by piercing two holes at the top of the fish using a straw, which after firing, ribbon will be threaded through in order to hang the fish up.
- Scoring: This is similar to mark making on the clay. Whilst impressing onto clay leaves a particular mark of the particular object, scoring involves impressing the same object, such as the side of a wooden piece, to create a pattern or repetitive mark.
Children also improvised with pinch pots, coil pots and creating other models from clay, which were then taken for firing! To be continued by painting....