Wednesday, October 24, 2012

African Amulets (and a thank you)

A very big thank you goes out to Phyl over at There's a Dragon in my Art Room (one of my very favorite art ed blogs) for mentioning ARTipelago in a recent post about new blogs! (I may or may not have had a much longer post written, in which I expressed my immense gratitude, wrote that I felt I had just won a prestigious and coveted award, and then deleted it out of embarrassment for being so excited...)

Since I got the shout-out, I figured I should post something today. And so, without further ado, I give you fourth grade African Amulets (in the making)! This is a lesson I've been doing for a few years now, and it's a favorite of the kids and yours truly. I came across it in an old issue of Arts & Activities and promise to give credit to the author as soon as I relocate the mag.

The lesson article was titled "Clay for the Kiln-less," and HELLO, that's me. Neither of my buildings has a kiln, so usually I am forced to use ( hideous nightmare-ish awful) air-dry clay. It cracks, it's brittle, it's my arch enemy. For the amulets, we use salt dough. It's easy to whip up in whatever quantity I need, it's cheap to make, and I can bake it in my regular ol' oven at home.

We start with an intro day, during which we identify some of the characteristics of traditional African art (focusing on masks and amulets). The kids get modeling clay to practice and sort out ideas.



One girl said, "mine looks like my sister before coffee." HA!

On the second day, we use the dough. The kiddos love sprinkling flour on their surface, and hearing about how I take the amulets home to bake, where Mr. Connell smells the dough baking and assumes I'm baking for him, and sometimes samples a project or two (they love any story that involves the mysterious Mr. Connell).



That's as far as we've gotten thus far. Next week we'll stain the baked dough using earth tones, a post for another day!

A shot from last year--more to come.
Thanks again, Phyl! :-)

6 comments :

  1. Congratulations on your new blog! You've such a great sense of humor- it's a joy to read :) I'm also a new blogger in PA and kiln-less, too. Maybe we'll see each other at 2013 PAEA!

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    1. Thank you for the congrats and the compliment! I just hopped over to your blog and immediately fell for your little Louise Nevelsons--and that's just your most recent post, so I have a feeling that your blog will be keeping me busy! Hope you're staying high and dry where you are--my brother lives in West Chester and I know he's off of work today, as are we here near Harrisburg.

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  2. I am enjoying your blog :) Will be following now with pleasure! I'd love you to visit me at Dream Painters :)Elizabeth

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    1. Thanks, Elizabeth! I've just become your 72nd follower! ;)

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  3. This is a terrific idea! I have seen other teachers use salt dough in their classes but I haven't done it yet in mine. I might just have to try it for an art club activity coming up just to try it out before I do it with my classes!

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    1. I test things out on my art club, too! They're such good little guinea pigs. I highly recommend this lesson. It gets rave reviews from all of the kiddos. Best of luck, and enjoy!

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