The seasons have clearly moved & spring is underway with buds opening and weather from all four seasons in one day! What better time to get out the door to go on a walk in your local area, a park or wood. This is is lovely family activity to do, collecting natural items of interest on your walks, to impress into clay making beautiful items for your home or to gift to others. Little family members can also enjoy this activity with some sibling or parental guidance. If you have excess clay and want to use it up, look at our other clay based projects.
Items required: Clay - Air-dry clay works best for most, unless you have a kiln to fire them, in which case take your pick of clay or glazes! You could also use plasticine for this activity but then you will need to get rolled back up afterwards so you can use your plasticine again another time. Some card - just for a template, or lying items on temporarily, so a cereal box or similar is fine.Pencil, ruler & scissors.A rolling pin - anything from the kitchen drawer to the toy kitchen will do, alternatively you could roll carefully with a jar, bottle or can, as long as the surface is smooth.Butter knife - or any knife that doesn't have a sharp end or edges - this is best for little ones - we don't want any accidents!A wet cloth - good for dampening the fingers when smoothing the clay edges down, as well as wiping up. I usually put mine in a lid or bowl.A dry cloth - needed for drying surfaces and hands.
Apron - I highly recommend this or old clothes as clay is messy BUT FUN!!!!
'Pokey' implements - this is for making holes through your pendants to thread through at the end, you could use a stick, a sharp pencil, BBQ stick, chop-stick, I chose a crotchet needle this time.
A little water in a pot or jar - this is incase any edges need a little more water to smooth them down or for if your clay is a little dry at the start. Always add water in tiny amounts to the clay and knead in as necessary otherwise it gets super slippery in your hands and difficult to work with.Clay wire cutter or similar - I couldn't find mine so I used a length of florist wire, but you could also use a cheese wire, fisherman's thread or a strong synthetic thread to similar effect.Natural items eg foliage, buds - you can collect these on a walk in the woods, trip to the park or on a walk around leafy streets.Optional extra ideas:Plain Seal:Crafting PVA Glue & paint prush- mix 3 parts PVA glue with 1 part warm water and mix. Once your clay items are fully dry, can seal the clay and have a slightly more glossy finish by painting thin layers of this solution on and leaving it to dry.Painting & Decorating:Gesso, acrylic paints, paintbrushes, mixing plate & water jar - Air-dry clay is best painted by sealing it first with gesso (a primer that you can buy at most art stores or online) and then painting as you want with acrylic paints. However you can also experiment and use whatever paints you have to hand.Whilst using this art resource to inspire learning, know you are helping you and your family's wellbeing like this:
1) Get Active - take a family walk to collect the natural items that you will use to impress into the clay. If you are looking for a natural clay source too, consider looking at the edges of streams - otherwise you can purchase air dry clay in many art stores or online.
2) Keep Learning - Keep a curious mind with your family when collecting items. Collect things to 'find out' what the imprint will look like in the clay. There is always an element of experimentation and surprise in art. Some things come out better than others but there is no right or wrong in it. If it doesn't work how you want it to, roll the clay back up and start again. It's not failing, it's just learning what we like and like less!
3) Be Mindful - Only take what you need - consider realistically how many tiles/pendants you will make before you leave, giving you an idea of roughly how much to collect. Collect a few more than expected amount as some may not work how you want them too.
4) Practice Kindness - Everyone's outcome will differ, respond with enthusiasm and respect and watch your child's confidence grow. Remember what we like and what our children or family may like can differ greatly. If they like it and are proud of it then that's ok, support them in that.
5) Think Community - Share these tiles/pendants by gifting them to your family, friends, neighbours and community. They make wonderful decorations to hang.