Art in the Open Learning Programme
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Clay can be used in the classroom fairly simply without having access to kilns or expensive equipment. Air drying clay can be purchased from school suppliers and is great to use in the classroom with pupils of all ages. Pupils can create 3D work, or clay plaques as part of any project

Setting Up

Air drying clay does start to dry out quite quickly, so avoid putting the clay out until the last minute. Use a large knife or butter knife to cut the clay up into pieces. The amount needed varies, depending on the project, but usually about 400g-500g per person (a piece about the size of a can of coke) is enough.

Cover tables and ensure that each pupil has a board to work on. These would ideally be wooden clay boards (covering each board with cling film will help to prevent clay from sticking to the board, though it is not always necessary) but other items can also be used, such as pieces of lino or plastic trays. It is a good idea to write each child's name on to a piece of masking tape and then stick to the board so that work can be left to dry without getting muddled up.

A pot of water may be put in the middle of the table to use during the clay work, however, tell pupils to use their finger tips only when adding water to their sculpture (adding water using the whole hand creates some very messy and soggy work). Tools needed are rolling pins and clay carving tools such as these below.

However, if specific clay tools cannot be found, then plastic knives and forks, kebab sticks and lollypop sticks can also make great tools for working with clay.

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