Laguna Clay Home Page

Laguna Clay on Facebook
Laguna Community Links, Blogs, Forums
Classroom
Featured Artists
Specials
About Laguna
Contact Us
Casting Slip
Prepared Clays Glazes Product Catalog
MSDS
Support
Distributors
Links, Blogs, Forum
A conversation about using clay as a teaching tool

Hand Built Dimensional Tile Project

March 17th, 2014

Hand Built Dimensional Tile
using
Fired-On Images Multi-Surface Transfer Paper
Colorized with Axner Overglazes
by
TERRIE BANHAZL

Laguna_cannon_tile_7

(Click to Download Printable PDF document of complete instructions)

Supplies

Fired-On Images Multi-Surface Transfer Paper

ANY HP or Canon Laser printer or copier as long as it has absolutely no capability of printing in color

White Stoneware Clay

Laguna Versa 5 white Glaze

Axner Overglazes Assorted colors

Image of choice or download Human Cannonball image from the Library of Congress Image Library   * most images that are available for download to the public from a government archive belong to “the people” and are not subject to copyrights.

http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/var1993000564/PP/

Small brayer or rubber roller

Warm Water dish

Soft Paper Towels

Assorted brushes of choice

Q-tips (with pointy end) found in beauty supply stores

Optional/ slab roller

 

 

Instructions:

  1. Find image of choice print out onto 2 sheets plain paper in desired size
  2. Roll out 2 slabs to one ¼ inch for the background and one 1/8 inch for the foreground images (you can decide thickness … be sure the foreground items are thinner than whole background  slab)
  3. Let clay get  slightly hard so it is easier and cleaner  to cut
  4. Cut out whole image from the ¼ in piece
  5. Lay image on top and use a brayer to adhere
  6. Laguna_cannon_tile_1Using pencil trace along edge of parts that you would like to be foreground pieces (stay slightly inside the lines) remove the paper.Laguna_cannon_tile_2
  7. Cut out the desired foreground images from the 1/8 inch slab and line up with the pencil marks.
  8. Lift carefully and score and slip back of foreground piece as well as the area it will be placed.
  9. For the Human Cannonball image I wanted the smoke and the man to fade into the background…this was done by carefully smoothing the edges of the burst coming out of the cannon into the background.
  10. Laguna_cannon_tile_3Let dry  flat until no longer cool to the touch
  11. Bisque to cone 03 or whatever clay requires
  12. Paint 3 coats of Laguna Versa White cone 5 glaze to front and Fire to Cone 5
  13. Measure the tile and resize the image using any graphics program
  14. Print  image onto Fired-On Images Transfer Paper as directed using a recommended printer or copier
  15. Cut out foreground image and cut up background.
  16. Laguna_cannon_tile_4Begin with background areas and apply as directed when going around the base of a sharp curve or slope cut small darts in around area as in sewingLaguna_cannon_tile_5
  17. Push water out on flat areas use a brayer on top of a soft  paper towel.  Continue with all the background first then add the foreground image.  Push together seems and press down gently  with a paper towel (do not overlap transfer material)Laguna_cannon_tile_6
  18.  Let dry and fire to cone 06
  19. Use Axner Overglazes to colorize and fire to cone 05.

Since original image was black and white…add whatever colors you choose  (reds do not show up well over sepia images)

Hints:

Use a dried soft brush to apply overglazes. Apply only one coat… more color can be added with additional firings.

For smooth looking backgrounds paint all over with a larger brush and quickly remove unwanted areas with a Q-Tip (the type with a pointed end are especially helpful)

Be careful to not leave any paint ridges or bits of hardened paint.

Laguna_cannon_tile_7

Florida Ruby-Throated Hummingbird Migration – Hummingbird Feeder Lesson Plan

October 17th, 2013

Ruby-Throated_Hummingbird

(Click to Download Printable PDF document of complete instructions)

Florida Ruby-Throated Hummingbird Migration

Grade Level: 1-6

Subject: Science

Topic: Ruby-Throated “Hungry bird” Hummingbird Migration

Objective:

By completing this lesson, students will learn about the Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds migration, and in the process demonstrate their problem solving, creative and critical thinking, math, geography, science, and observation. They will be able to connect to the Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds by creating the nourishment and feeder humming birds will need for their yearly migration.

 

Structure: Class Discussion

Purpose: Build Understanding

Description:

Time to Migrate!
Each fall and spring, the Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds travel to and from their Southern Florida wintering grounds to Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.
We will explore questions like these:

  • Why do hummingbirds risk a dangerous long-distance migration?
  • Where do they go? How fast and how far can they fly?
  • What do they need to survive and how can we help them?

 

Structure: Class Activity

Purpose: Connect to Daily Life

Description:

Hungry Birds!
If you burned energy at the same rate as a hummingbird, how much of your favorite food would you need to eat per day? Calculate the number of calories per ounce a hummingbird needs in a day (Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds need 10 calories per day and weigh 1/10 of an ounce.)
Figure your own weight in ounces.

  • If you burned food at the same rate (calories/ounce) as a hummingbird does, how many calories would you need per day?
  • How many calories are in one serving of your favorite food?
  • How much of this food would you need to eat per day?

Structure: Class Activity

Purpose: Connect to Daily Life

Description:

Seeing Red!
Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds rely on nectar as a major part of their diet. You can attract Ruby-Throated hummingbirds to your yard and help them along on their journey by providing a red tipped hummingbird feeder with sugar water.

Prep:

You will need a plastic water bottle (16 fl), 1 hummingbird feeder tip and string.
You will need 1 part white granulated sugar to 4 parts water.
Boil the nectar for up to two minutes. Cool the mixture before adding to the feeder. You can store unused nectar in the refrigerator for up to weeks.

Hang you feeder where you can observe it and where it is safe and accessible to the Ruby-Throated Hummingbird. Clean your feeder every few days. Nectar will spoil rapidly when temperatures are over 60 degrees. To clean, rinse the feeder with hot water.

Materials:

  • Plastic water bottle (16 fl)
  • String
  • Axner Hummingbird feeder tip, stopper, & glass tube (A132301)
  • Nectar

The object of this activity is to create a holder for a 12 oz water bottle fitted with an Axner Hummingbird feeder tip. The holder will cover the bottle, provide a way to hang it and make it visually stimulating for hummingbirds. The lesson also contains information on how to fill and maintain a healthy humming bird feeder and how to make the surrounding environment more “hummer friendly” by including nectar rich flowers in the landscape.

Choose a water or soft drink bottle with an opening which fits the plug of the Axner humming bird Feeder Tip.

IMG_1023  IMG_1025  IMG_1027

Trace around the base of the bottle, then measure the diameter of the circle.  Add the shrinkage percentage of the clay to assess the size the holder must be in order to accommodate the bottles length and girth when the holder is fired.

Wrap the bottle in a garbage bag to increase the size.  The bag should be loosely wrapped and secured with low tack masking tape.  (Later the bag will be pulled out.)

Use a string to measure the circumference of the wrapped bottle. Knot or mark it to indicate the correct length.

  IMG_1030  IMG_1033

IMG_1032  IMG_1031

Using thickness strips or the Axner Mini Roller, roll out two slabs.  One that is wide and long enough to be rolled around the bag swaddled bottle and another approximately half as wide.

IMG_1038    IMG_1042

Cut the slab to length (just a little longer than your string) using an angled cut on both edges.  This will create more surface area for the clay to adhere to, resulting in a stronger seam.

IMG_1045  IMG_1044

 Slip and score the two sides of the slab.  Roll the slab around the bag covered bottle and press the scored and slipped edges together.  Work the clay to create a strong join.

IMG_1049  IMG_1072  IMG_1074

Make a circle of paper towel and place on the second slab. Set the cylinder vertically on the other slab and paper towel, leaving a ½ inch margin on all sides.  Step back and assess if it is leaning at all.  If so, cut it at the bottom to create a vertical cylinder.  Reach inside the cylinder and gently remove the bag and bottle.  Then carefully work the inside seam together.

IMG1051-1080

Cut around the cylinder, leaving ½ to ¾ inch extra all the way around depending on the thickness of the slab-this is the top of the lid.  Cut two strips from the remaining slab, join with a diagonal seam, then slip and score the lid edge. Attach the lid lip, checking to be sure the lid is snug.  You may then flip over

carefully and decorate the lid to match your feeder theme. Place a paper towel inside of the lid, tucking it carefully into the corner. Place the lid on the cylinder.

IMG_1081

Cover the raised elements of your lid with a piece of paper towel.  Add two or three scrap strips of clay to protect the raised elements of the lid design.  Using a square of card board, flip the lid to expose the inside.  Carefully make a hole in the center which must accommodate the two thicknesses of the rope (and the shrinkage). Place the cylinder into the lid, leaving the open end up.

 

 

IMG_1082  IMG_1084

IMG_1086Cut darts into the open end as shown.  The object is to make a curved end to facilitate drainage of any condensate which accumulates on the inside of the container and to create and opening which will accommodate the bottle lip (and the shrinkage). Use slip and score and work the edges to create a smooth curve.

You may want to add some clay to the inside of the opening edge.  Just be sure to work it in.

 

IMG_1092

 

The result should be a smooth opening ready to decorate according to your theme.

 

 

 

 

IMG_1095-1099  IMG_1100

Add the lugs for the hanging rope as shown. They should accommodate two thicknesses of rope (don’t forget shrinkage).  The rope can be knotted at the bottom or two large beads can be used to hold the rope in place.

IMG_1102  IMG_1106-1104  IMG_1107

IMG_1108

Shown above is one technique to make flowers.  Use your thumb and finger as a pattern and your other thumb and finger to ‘cut” around them, then refine the uniform sized pieces you create.  Roll balls then cut in half to create flower centers. Use slip and score method to assemble flower petals and the wet texture tool to create texture on flower center.

Be sure the decorations do not interfere with the feeder tip or the hanging rope.

 

Visit Axner.com December 1st for the glazing and assembly portion of this lesson….

Florida’s Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds: Tiny Travelers

The tiny, iridescent feathered hummingbird flaps it’s wings 80 times per second, making a humming noise true to it’s name. Hummingbirds live exclusively  in the Americas, ranging from Alaska in the North America to Chile in South America. The Ruby-throated hummingbird is the most populated of the over 17 different species of hummingbirds in Florida and the eastern United States. The Florida Ruby-Throated Hummingbird travels from Florida to Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula each fall, nearly 500 miles non-stop. In the spring they fly back from the Yucatan to spend the summer in the United States.  Here in Florida we see the tiny travelers bulk up for this long journey around late July to take flight at the end of October. In the countries of the Yucatan Peninsula the hummers begin their journey back starting late February to Mid-May.

Normally, a humming bird is the size of the average adult thumb and weighs less than a penny. They travel thousands of miles a year, eating nectar, insects and  finding safe spots to rest and refuel along the way. The hummingbird’s feet are used for perching only, not for walking or hopping. They hover, a unique bird behavior,  by flapping their wings in figure 8 pattern. The Hummingbird is the only birds who have the ability to fly forwards, backwards and even upside down for short journeys. Hummers use an incredible amount of energy for their size. During normal flight, their wings beat up to 50 times per second for females and 70 times per second for males. During their migration journey they can beat their wings up to 200 times per second.

All this activity requires tremendous amounts of energy. Hummers will consume about half their body weight in nectar daily, visiting up to 1000 flowers and eating 2000 tiny insects. They can feed five to eight times each hour, up to a minute at each feeding.  Like humans they require protein but their supply comes from insects, which make up about 25 percent of their diet. They hover mid-air to catch small flying insects, but often snap up insects on leaves or from spider webs as well.

Harsh weather conditions like hurricanes or early frosts are some of their greatest challenges every year. Part of their survival success is due to a special mechanism called Torpor. This low-energy state starts with them fluffing their feathers and adjusting their internal thermostats, decreasing their body temperature by half and reducing their heart rate from 500 beats per minute to a mere 50. They may even briefly stop breathing.  Ruby-throated hummingbirds go into Torpor when they sleep or are affected by cold or dangerous weather.

Before migration hummingbirds go on a feeding frenzy. They feed often and heavily for days- a state called hyperphagia by scientists. They double their weight, gaining fat to power their journey. The extra fat, called yellow fat, deposits around the hummers body cavity and organs. The stored fat provides more than twice the energy per gram than burning carbohydrates or protein. Yellow fat metabolism produces twice as much water than burning protein or carbs insuring protection from dehydration during long flights. Ornothologists have calculated that hyperphagia generates enough fuel for a humming bird to fly nearly 600 miles at 35 mph.

Hummingbirds rely on nectar as a major part of their diet. As human population grows, natural nectar sources dwindle and pesticides kill off needed insects the hummers struggle for food sources. You can create your own bright red hummingbird feeder*. These feeders are filled with sugar-water** they do require daily maintenance since the heat will affect the water. This sugar water recipe should never include honey, artificial sweeteners, flavorings or food coloring. They will cause damage to the hummingbird’s kidneys.

Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds live an average of 3-5 years but they can live up to 12 years. To ensure proper continual growth of the hummingbird population, you can invite them to your backyard with a variety of brightly colored red and scarlet flowers. Pink, rose, orange, and purple are alluring to them as well. You can plant flowers such as bee balm, cardinal flower, coral bell, four o’clock, foxglove, agastache (hummingbird mint) and yucca perennials. Hummers enjoy vines such as morning glory, scarlet runner bean and trumpet creeper. This collection of flowers and vines have a very high sugar content of more than 10% for the hummingbirds diet. The hummingbirds long and tapered bill is designed to get the nectar from the center of long, tubular flower. When the hummers are drinking the nectar from a flower or a vine, their bill is usually opened slightly, allowing their tongue to dart out and into the interior of the flower where the sweet nectar collects.

Even thought the Ruby-Throated hummingbird will migrate every year, they are solo fliers. They are very unsociable birds. They do not fly in a flock like ducks or geese. Researchers have concluded that they are better off as solo fliers since they are such small birds that it is hard for predators to see them when they fly alone. They stop frequently to feed on flowers or a feeder during their journey so the availability of flowers and feeders are few for a large group. Since they have very little body fat, flying as a flock, there is not enough air current to keep them together.

A Ruby-Throated Hummingbird migration can last anywhere from on to four weeks averaging twenty to twenty-five miles per day. During this time, they might stop for food, nectar and rest but most of the time they are flying. They will stay in one place for one to fourteen days before they reach their final destination. The males arrive and leave before the females in both seasonal homes to ensure their territory is suitable for mating. Like turtles, Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds will travel the same migration route their entire life span.

During their winter stay the Ruby-Throated Hummingbird is noted to migrate in abundance to the coffee farms in Mexico. The shaded areas produce such lavish flowers that are super sweet which they enjoy.

Ruby-Throated Hummingbird Feeder

You will need:

  • Clay
  • Glaze
  • Empty water bottle
  • Large garbage bag
  • Low tack Masking tape
  • Hummingbird feeder stopper and tip
  • Medium weight UV resistant rope
  • Slab roller or rolling pin
  • Thickness strips (for use with rolling pin)
  • Slabmat x2 (for use with slab roller)
  • Needle tool
  • Wet texture tool
  • Rib
  • Bowl or spray bottle of water or small plastic bag of slip

Recipe

1 cup  Pure Cane White Granulated Sugar

4 cups hot boiling water

Boil the 4 cups of water on the stove top. Add the 1 cup of sugar. Mix the sugar and water until the sugar dissolves.

Carefully place the mixture into the refrigerator to cool, usually overnight. When mixture is cold, take the mixture out of the refrigerator and add to hummingbird feeder. wipe bottle dry after adding the water so not to attract ants.

Note:

Do not add red food coloring or dye to the hummingbird food. It has no nutritional value and can cause damage to their kidneys. If you have a good hummingbird feeder, there is no need to have red hummingbird food to attract hummingbirds.

Do not use the microwave to boil the water for hummingbird food.

Water boiled in a microwave has a tendency to start to rapidly boil over (sometimes described as an explosion) when the water surface is touched causing burns to the hands of the person making the hummingbird food.

Do not put hot hummingbird food into a  hummingbird feeder.

This can cause the tank on the hummingbird feeder to break and could possible cut the hand of the person filling the tank. Putting hot hummingbird food into a hummingbird feeder  can also burn the tongue of a poor unsuspecting hummingbird.

Do not use brown sugar, powered sugar, maple syrup, karo syrup, Splenda, Equal, Sweet’N'Low, or any other type of sugar or sugar substitute.

Only use Pure Cane White Granulated Sugar (the white grainy stuff) to make hummingbird food. The chemical makeup of other types of sugars is not the same as Pure Cane White Granulated Sugar  and can cause illness and death to a hummingbird. It does not matter what brand of Pure Cane White Granulated Sugar   you use, as long as it is the white grainy processed sugar.

Do not use Kool-Aid to make hummingbird food.

The chemicals in Kool-Aid are not good for hummingbirds and can cause illness and death to a hummingbird.

Bead Making, Made Easy – A Step-by-Step Lesson Plan

November 16th, 2012

NOTE: A complete PDF Bead Making Lesson Plan done to Florida teaching standards is available for download by clicking here!

Lesson Purpose

Bead making is one of our very first arts, as humans. Beads are still made from many natural materials, both organic such as animals, stones and shells, or botanical and inorganic like minerals. Primitive man wore necklaces made from animal bones, claws and teeth of slain animals. They learned to create polished wooden beads, colorful seeds and pieces of palm, bamboo and tropical hardwoods producing attractive necklaces and bracelets. As clay and glass became more readily available the use of beads socially and economically flourished. Beads have been used throughout the world for many different reasons such a religious, i.e. rosary beads; trade or currency, i.e. Aggrey beads from Ghana; spiritual, i.e. worry beads; and for playing children’s games such as the Owari beads. The history of beading is a story of social and economic impact on people of every continent and culture, and revival of old ideas into new.

Some Lesson Plan Highlights…

  • A thorough introduction of the history of bead making is included in the Lesson Plan
  • Each student will be able to identify different types of uses for beads. They will then create beads in different colors and styles to be worn or to be traded with fellow students.
  • Age group recommendation: Approximately 5th Grade through High School (and beyond)!
  • Step-by-step written instructions as well as images are provided
  • All tools and materials required to complete Lesson Plan are listed, as well as product numbers for easy ordering
  • Grading/Scoring scale included

(Downlaod PDF document for complete instructions)

What will my students be able to do when they finish this lesson or unit?

How to use clay and create a beautiful bead, thinking of the processes and skills involved. The student will learn by exploring with clay, what the clay body can/not do. By creating beads, the student will learn how to create shapes and combining them with color by using their hands and various tools.

As the Instructor, what assessment tools will I use?

After completely this Lesson Plan, students will be able to identify different types of uses for beads and through presentation of their beads, each student will be assessed on if the beads are complete and were done neatly. The student will also be assessed on the creativity of the beads in relation to their use.

If you have any questions regarding the Lesson Plan, please feel free to email us at: info@lagunaclay.com or leave a question in the “Leave a Reply” section below this posting.  Have fun and good luck!

Blooming Bowls or Bug Bowls

February 15th, 2012

These bowls are simple to make. We put almost every step in this lesson so you can make one even if you have never worked with clay.

So bring your “I can do it!” attitude and let’s make some bowls!

First things first… Clay dos and don’ts;

Do

  • Use water sparingly
  • Wipe your hands off on a cloth frequently.
  • Be aware of where you are telling the clay to go by noticing the angle between your fingertips and middle knuckles.
  • If the table is too high, put your work in your lap (on top of your cloth) or work standing up.
  • Allow the dirty water sit so the clay settles, pour the clear water off and put the clay sludge in at trash bag or lined trash container.

Don’t

  • Dump clay filled water down the drain (it will clog pipes).
  • Put lots of water on your work.
  • Do not throw clay (unless you have a potter’s wheel).
  • Don’t handle your work carelessly, it will break.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Start by cutting a slab of clay off of the large “pug”. Use a wire tool, a sturdy string or fishing line

 

 

 

Cut the slab into 4 smaller parts (six if you are working with very young children). Make two (or three) smaller.

 

 

Make the larger pieces into balls. Use the palm of your hand. Clay is one place you are allowed to smack loudly!

 

 

Start forming your bowl by holding it in one hand as shown. Then use the thumb of your other hand to form the middle hole. Leave it a bit thick at the bottom.

 

Here you see the right hand doing the pinching and the left is just holding the piece. Starting at the bottom squeeze a little between thumb and fingers, turn the piece two finger widths and squeeze again. When you have moved all the way around the piece move up a thumbs length and do the process again. Note that the clay is going the way the finger is angled.

You can repeat the process until the bowl is thick enough to hold it’s own weight and thin enough to “feel right” when you pick it up. This may take some practice. If your piece collapses, carefully crush it without trapping any air inside and make the clay into a ball, wrapping it to use for “decorative sprigs” later.

 

You now smooth the bowl if you want to. Then use a knife (fettling or butter knife) “to form the “foot”. The “foot” of a bowl helps the bowl sit firmly on the table without rolling.

 

The wider the foot, the more stable the bowl.  An excessively large foot makes a bowl heavy and can adversely affect the look of the bowl. Here you can clearly see a flat spot is cut at the bottom of the bowl. Trace a square on the flat area, then carefully cut away,starting at the flat spot with the slice narrowing at the curve of your bowl.

Adding clay pieces to a clay form with slip is called “sprigging”. You will now make decorative elements which will attach to your bowl. Remember, if the sprigging is too heavy the bowl will tip to one side instead of being upright on the foot. One way to make things light is to make them hollow. If you close a form completely, poke a hole in it when you are finish, or the trapped air might break it.

 

Make your sprigging design, then lay it out without sticking it on. Once you have the “bugs” worked out, it will be time to attach everything.

 

Make little slices where you wish to attach a piece. This is called scoring. Then place a drop of water on the scored area, do the same with the sprig then press them firmly together. The scoring creates a great deal of surface area, the water creates a way for the clay particles to move easily. The pressure helps them line up and be strong with their new neighbors. The smaller the sprig, the less pressure is required.

 

Here is a little trick to make your limbs interesting. Apply a little pressure with dull side of the knife, then draw it along, allowing the rope of clay to roll. Do it both ways if you like for a pattern of diamonds or squares..

 

 

Then you set the piece aside to dry. Let it dry for two weeks. If the piece is wet when it is painted the paint will blister. If the piece feels cool to your cheek it needs more drying time.

Paint the whole piece with clear, white, black or red gesso. Let it dry for a day.

 

 

Paint your piece carefully, starting on the inside. Take care not to break your sprigs as you work around the piece. Wadded paper towels or foam can be used to lay the piece upside down without damage.

The bowl at the front has had a coat of clear gloss acrylic medium. The bowl at the back has been painted with acrylic craft paint only.

**Click here to view or download a PDF version of this Lesson Plan>>

Revitalizing Neglected Landscapes with Organic Seed Blossoms

January 29th, 2012

This lesson written by: Rosanne Sloane

Lesson Purpose:

We are going to create seed blossoms which we will be able to toss onto abandoned land. Each student will learn about our native wild flowers, choosing a flower they like and writing a brief description on it.

BACKGROUND: When Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon arrived in Florida on Palm Sunday in 1513, he named Florida, La Florida, “land of flowers,” in honor of the Spain’s Easter celebration. There was at that time an abundant wildflowers as far as the eye could see.

As communities grew, native Floridians people and new settlers utilized native wildflowers for a variety of things, from medicine and food to aesthetics. They recognized wildflowers’ places in nature’s hierarchy and their importance in the plant and animal kingdoms.

As years passed with the destruction of natural places in Florida in order to develop modern dwellings such as homes, schools, and businesses, with it’s the once beautiful landscape lost many of its wild flowers. Recognizing the loss of such beauty, many Floridians tried to save the wildflowers within in their own communities.

Florida’s flowers include more than 4,100 kinds of spontaneous occurring plants. There are 2,800 Florida native plants. Florida’s 2,800 native plant list includes trees, shrubs, vines, ferns, grasses and flowering herbaceous species. In the spirit of Lady Bird Johnson’s Highway Beautification Act created in 1965, we are going to help revitalize neglected landscapes with the use of clay and wild flower seeds.

DOWNLOAD: Organic Seed Blossom Lesson Plan>>

Organic Seed Blossom Recipe

DOWNLOAD: Organic Seed Blossom Recipe>>

Makes six ping pong size seed blossom

All materials in this recipe and instructional sheet are cheap or free, easy to find, and are natural and organic.

(Note: Buy seed mixtures of native flowers and plants to your area. Not only will they grow well, they will not crowd out other plants, disrupt bird and insect populations, or do other environmental damage.)

  • 1 tablespoon of chili powder as a pest deterrent (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon of water

(Add water as needed to make meatloaf like consistency. Water is for forming the clay, do not water seed blossom when finished.)

What you will need for mixing and storing Seed Blossoms:

  • Yogurt container with lid
  • Empty Egg carton

Instructions:

Mix 5 parts clay with 1 part compost and 1 part flower seeds into the container. Put 1 tablespoon of water into the mixture. Add water a necessary but make sure not to make your mixture into a goopy sloppy mess!

Knead with hands into a ball, flatten it out like a tube and cut 1” spacing or to desired size. We would recommend wearing latex gloves when rolling the balls, tubes, and making the actual blossom.

Take each cut and make into a small ball and place into egg carton to dry.

Place egg carton by a window to help dry. Please allow 3 days to days thoroughly before tossing.

Choosing a Site

Choosing a suitable site is as crucial as choosing suitable seeds. Some might view seed blossom tossing as “vandalism.”

Best Site Choice

We want to make sure the land has been orphaned and would be suitable for wild flowers. We want to attract other wild life to help pollinate the wild flowers to be.

Here is a good check list to consider when searching for a site.

  1. Make sure the site is not a conservation area?
  2. Make sure the area is not privately owned.
  3. Make sure the land is not set aside for agricultural purposes.
  4. Make sure the site is abandoned and can be benefit from the seeds.
  5. Make sure the site is not a future construction site.

There are some Don’ts that need to be followed:

  1. Don’t throw seed blossoms at people, animals, buildings, vehicles or windows. Please make sure that nothing or no body can be damaged or harmed by your flying seed blossoms.
  2. Don’t throw them on land with inadequate growing conditions. If there is sun light and no obvious soil for the plants to anchor themselves causing them to perish.

Don’t use the seed blossoms as a form of aggression or vandalism.

Lesson Resources

Wildflower Power Air Dry Clay Tiles

October 27th, 2011

Lesson Plan by Rosanne Sloane (download Rosanne’s Wildflower lesson plan>>)

How To Make A Wild Flower Power Air Dry Clay Tile

Download a PDF of this blog post showing how to create Air Dry Wildflower Tiles>>

Take a 25lb brick of Laguna Mexo-White Self Hardening Clay and cut a 1″ x 12″ x 12″ thick slab of clay.

1. Place the clay on a slab roller canvas or on newspaper to be roller out to a 25” x 30” slab.

2. Roll the clay through the slab roller or under the rolling pin.

 3. Slab the air dry clay until you get to ¼” thick.

4. Once you have a slab ¼” thick you can place a slab mat on top to erase the canvas marks or you can leave them.

5. Please your slab of clay on a clean piece of paper or clean work area.

6. Take a square cookie cutter about 2” x 2”. (If you want larger tiles you can use standard sizes such as 4” x 4” or 6” x 6” or a 8” x 8”.)

7. Cut as many tiles as you can from you 1st slab of 25” x 30” clay.

8. Please your stamp or stencil on top the tiles you have cut out to create the imprint you are creating. Make sure to spray the tile with vegetable oil or talc powder for quick release from the clay.

9. Press down on the stamp evenly or etch out the stencil at this time.

10. Pull back the tile or stencil carefully.

11. Examine the impression.

12. Once you examine the impression, continue stamping.

13. After the tiles have been cut and stamped, designate someone to smooth the edges.

14. You can smooth out any wrinkles or creases on the sides or top at this point.

15. Place tiles on a board to dry for the next three days.

16. Once dried, you can apply acrylic paints, spray paints, glitter, cork, rubber, or any other multi-media material to jazz up the tile.

Downloads:

“Force, Energy and Motion” Glebe Mural

September 1st, 2011

A special thanks to our post author Alfredo Ratinoff for this wonderful mural project designed for grades K through 5. And to Laguna Distributor Tin Barn Pottery (email: tinbarnpottery@aol.com / (703) 330-1173) for working with Alfredo to provide the Versa 5 glazes to students for the project. 

The Beginnings of the School-Wide Mural Project

Glebe Elementary (Arlington, VA) students have just completed a wonderful art journey. Under the guidance of artist Alfredo Ratinoff, what began as a first grade drawing game, became four, 8′ x 4′ tile murals permanently installed in the school’s courtyard. Glebe art teachers Stacey Lewis and Lynn Westergren were teaching an integrated unit on Force, Energy and Motion in the work of American painter Elizabeth Murray. As part of this unit, students made collaborative shape drawings. The results of this drawing game were surprisingly beautiful and Lewis and Westergren felt they were the perfect designs for a proposed mural project for the school courtyard.

Work Plan Created for a 400 Student Mural with Variation for Age Levels

Lewis and Westergren contacted Alfredo Ratinoff , whom they had worked with before when a 26ft x 28ft mural was created for the school lobby. Alfredo created a work plan that would allow all 400 Glebe students, K – 5, to have a part in the creation of these courtyard murals. Alfredo also crafted a design that recreated the 1st grade drawings in hand built clay slab relief and encased these pieces in dynamic glazed mosaic shapes. Kindergarten and 1st grade students glazed the quarry tile used for the mosaic with Versa 5 colors from Laguna Clay Company – Alfredo worked closely with Laguna Distributor Tin Barn Pottery (located in Manassas, Virginia) to obtain the Versa 5 glazes for this project. 

The versatility of the Versa 5 Glazes allowed us to mix the glazes to obtain a beautiful subtle palette that set off the bright hues of the hand built slabs. Second and Third Grade students created the mosaic from broken glazed quarry tile. Using an enlarged map of the first grade drawings as their guide, fourth and fifth grade students sculpted the relief on shaped clay slabs and glazed these piece using the Versa 5 primary hues.

Mural Installation

Ratinoff and Westergren oversaw the installation of the four murals by Arlington County Public Schools tile installers. When Glebe students return this fall they will get daily enjoyment from the fruits of their year of work on this project. We want to express thanks to the Laguna Clay Company for creating such an outstanding line of glazes, that are simple enough for students to use, but consistently create marvelous professional grade results for outdoor projects.

Glebe Courtyard Mural Project Photos

The BirdProject Lesson Plan – By: Tippy Tippens

August 25th, 2011

The BirdProject is a very important cause to the Laguna Clay Company.  The BP Oil Spill in the Gulf was devastating and we wanted to find a way to give back to the local community.  The white ceramic birds inside the soaps are glazed with Laguna Clay Co.  blue crackle glaze. We were proud and honored to donate this glaze to Tippy Tippen’s BirdProject.  Please enjoy reading and learning about the BirdProject.  As always, we would love to hear your thoughts and comments, as well as hear about your personal experiences.

The BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Disaster has destroyed and continues to destroy local culture, our environment, and our wildlife. Both the long-term after effects of this disaster and its ultimate reach are yet unknown. BirdProject’s mission is to raise and maintain public awareness of the Oil Spill and to help provide funding for Environmental Cleanup Initiatives and aid for affected wildlife.

BirdProject provides work to the area by teaming exclusively with local artists, suppliers, and manufacturers and building positive partnerships between a range of New Orleans communities. Working with community and education based Operation Reach helps highlight this important issue in the minds of teenagers as well as teaching new skills in both green technologies and entrepreneurial creativity.

BirdProject is manufacturing an exclusive edition of black, bird-shaped glycerin soaps. Each soap contains a white, ceramic bird, made from Louisiana Clay and Laguna Clay Co. glazes, which remains as a keepsake once the outer soap has been washed away. The use of Glycerin – a biodiesel by-product – helps bolster awareness of green energy initiatives while emphasizing smart usage of manufacturing waste.

Through the daily act of washing, you will eventually free the clean, white, ceramic birds inside – potent symbols of restoration and recovery. The soap is shaped to be cradled in your hand and is a powerful representation of all creatures affected by the spill.

The soaps are manufactured from natural, locally sourced ingredients: biodiesel glycerin from Operation Reach, fair trade olive oil, aloe, activated black charcoal, and a light cypress scent – reminiscent of Louisianan bayous.

BirdProject’s production model is highly scalable, enabling cost-effective runs for both local and national retail outlets. 30% of the retail price will be donated directly to the Gulf Restoration network and the IBRRC. Profits will provide funding for follow up products including raising funding/awareness for wetland restoration.

BirdProject is the launch product from, MATTER L3C, a new design company based in New Orleans. About MATTER: Eco-intelligence, creativity, and innovative philanthropy unite at MATTER L3C: an industrial design & consulting studio based in New Orleans, uniquely focused on raising awareness and funding initiatives that advance social change. A portion of all proceeds flow to causes that impact the health, happiness, and sustainability of our communities both locally and for our neighbors around the world. MATTER L3C helps to make the world a better place by creating products and collaborations that matter.

Since my relocation to New Orleans from Brooklyn, NY to help in oil spill cleanup I have had the wonderful opportunity to volunteer for Audubon. This day was amazing in the ability to see so many healthy pelicans in an oil-free natural, habitat and a massive thank you to Lexie Montgomery, the incredible Audubon Volunteer Coordinator and new friend.

** Click here to SHOP BirdProject products – BirdProject donates 50% of profits to the Gulf Restoration network and International Bird Rescue. Profits will provide funding for follow up products including raising funding/awareness for wetland restoration and other social intiatives.

** Click here to watch Tippy Tippens in a short video of the making of the BirdProject **

** Below are photos of the making of these lovely birds… Click on the image to see the process in greater detail **

In The News:

**BirdProject’s Bird-Shaped Soaps Remind Us Gulf Spill Cleanup Isn’t Over**

By: Maria Matis, with www.ecouterre.com 07/18/11

“The symbolism of the soap extends beyond its shape. Intentionally black to represent oil, each bird washes away to reveal a white ceramic version inside. “The white ceramic bird represents hope, and is to remain as a symbol of progress and recovery,” Tippens tells Ecouterre.  Intentionally black to represent oil, each one washes away to reveal a white ceramic version inside.”

**Symbolic soaps raise funds for oil-spill cleanup operation**

By: www.springwise.com, 07/11/11

“Symbolically, the soaps represent the washing of a bird whilst simultaneously linking that process to human activity as they wash themselves. A further function of the design is that it has helped raise awareness for a rescue operation at a time when many feel swamped by calls to give to worthy causes. Those trying to achieve similar goals, time to start thinking creatively!”

Fired-On Images Lesson Plan

March 16th, 2011

This Lesson Plan uses Fired-On Images along with Laguna Clay and Creatable Colors to create unique and beautiful tiles to be enjoyed by all!

Click Here to download the complete printable step-by-step intstructions for this Lesson Plan – (PDF)

Click Here to download the actual Fruit image used for this Lesson Plan (PDF)

Note: We have created links to help you find the exact products used in this Lesson Plan.  Simply click on the highlighted material you are interested in and you will be directed to our site if you would like to learn more about the materials or purchase them.

Materials

Option 1: Color is added as Under-glaze (Majolica style)

A. Size image and print out on plain paper to trace or directly onto Clay Carbon
B. Paint bisque tile LM362 with 2 coats white EM2101 Laguna Creatable Color Glaze, let dry
C. Trace image on to dried white glaze surface

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

D. Paint in the lines with 1-2 coats Creatable Colors assorted colors (this fruit crate label sample used Red, Medium Blue, Green, Yellow and Orange).


 

 

 

 

 

 

Decorating Hints:

  • Print the image onto a sheet of Laser compatible transparency film. That way you can hold the image over the tile as you paint to make sure the color is exactly where you want it.
  • Use masking tape or liquid masking fluid for crisp lines and edges.

E. Fire to Cone 06


 

 

 

 

 

 

F. Print image onto Fired-On Images MS Transfer Paper using ANY Canon or HP Black-only Laser printer or copier.

Printing Hints:

  • Print on the glossy side of the paper, one sheet at a time, placing in the manual feed slot of the printer.
  • HP or Canon Black-only Multifunction Laser Printer/Photocopiers can be used as standalone.
  • Fired-On transfer printers without the need of a computer hook up. You just put the image onto the copier platen and print directly onto the transfer paper.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

G. Cut out image close to edges
H. Soak in warm water

 

 

 

 

 

I. Lift image with backing paper intact and place on tile using one hand hold film down and carefully pull out backing paper from underneath with the other hand
J. Line up with image push water out with paper towel or soft brayer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

K. Fire to cone 06

Option 2: Color is added as Over-glaze

1. Paint bisque tile LM362 with 2-3 coats white EM 2101 Laguna Creatable Color Glaze
2. Fire to cone 06
3. Print sized image onto decal paper using any HP or Canon Black-only printer
4. Cut out close to image edges
5. Soak in warm water
6. Pick up with backing paper intact and lay onto tile …using one hand hold down film and pull out backing paper with the other hand
7. Push water from center outward with paper towel or soft brayer
8. Fire to Cone 06
9. Paint in the lines with assorted Creatable Colors Glaze

Over-glaze Hints:

  • Over-glazing onto a smooth pre-glazed surface can be tricky if the glaze or brush is too wet.
  • Use a dry brush with glaze that is the consistency of paste (put some liquid glaze on a scrap glazed tile and let dry until the right consistency)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10. Fire again to cone 06

Stoneware Instructions (Cone 5 Glaze)

Materials

Overglaze Method:

A. Paint your cone 5 ware with 2 -3 coats Versa 5 White Glaze MS301
B. Fire to Cone 5
C. Apply Transfer as instructed
D. Fire to Cone 06
E. Paint in the lines with assorted Creatable Colors Glazes
F. Fire to cone 06.

Stoneware Hints:

  • It is possible to do the under-glaze image decorating method with Versa 5 Glazes. Just use the white as your Majolica base coat and Versa 5 colored glazes as your coloring medium.
  • Keep in mind that Stoneware cone 5 glazes shrink and so the image will need to be resized before decal application.

More Info and Where to Buy Hints:

 

 

 

The Ceramic Twizzler® Tile Mural LESSON PLAN

March 10th, 2011

This Lesson Plan is a collaborative effort made from Laguna B-Mix Clay with Grog and AMACO Velvet Underglazes and Clear Glaze.

Please enjoy this very imaginative Ceramic Twizzler® Tile Mural Lesson Plan by clicking on the links below. Stephanie Osser developed this Twizzler® Lesson Plan after attending a ceramics workshop for faculty and staff at Babson College.  She is the studio manager/ceramic artist-in-residence for a small ceramics program based at Babson College, a business school, in Wellesley, MA.  She comes to ceramics from her career as a book illustrator.  Her forte is bas-relief tile and sculpture and is currently involved in a commissioned bas-relief group project for the Cambridge Hospital Alliance in Cambridge, MA. Stephanie has also been chosen to be a resident artist in Denmark this summer for six weeks at an international ceramic research center called Guldagergaard.  There she will work on her own narrative work in bas-relief tiles and sculpute and new technology in silk screen and decaling her drawings on clay. To learn more about Stephanie and her current and past projects, visit her personal website at: www.stephanieosser.com

- Click here to view the Step-by-Step Lesson Plan instructions on Laguna Clay’s website

- Click here to download a Printable (PDF) version of the Step-by-Step Lesson Plan instructions

The_Ceramic_Twizzler_Mural_Laguna_Clay


Clay in Class is powered by WordPress.
Entries (RSS) and Comments (RSS).
Website © copyright 2004-2012 Laguna Clay Company. All Rights Reserved