Learn How to Sculpt With Clay

The Burghers of Calais Auguste Rodin
Level: Middle School Duration: Six 45-minute class periods Historical Overview: Artist Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) and France Goals and Objectives: To introduce sculpting techniques. Vocabulary: positive and negative space, carving additive and subtractive methods, proportion, scale Materials: clay, wire, wood, nails, armature, carving tools, wire and washer clay cutting tool, sponges, water containers, tooth brushes, and spray bottle Procedures: Day 1 1. Anticipatory Set: Show posters and books of different works by artist Auguste Rodin.
  1. Slide lecture on history of figure modeling (Romans, Greeks, Etruscan).
  2. Class discussion on artists shown.
  3. Wedge Clay.
  4. Make wire and washer clay cutting tool.
  5. Review proportions.
  6. Review vocabulary.
Day 2
  1. Have students rotate around model to find their favorite view.
  2. Set up armatures posing wire to suit gesture of model.
  3. Make preliminary foundation of clay for figure.
  4. Make tape marks for model, marking hand, feet, and body placement. Note eye direction for better future head positioning.
Day 3
  1. Realign clay to match pose.
  2. Review variety of methods for adding clay (e.g., brush, scoring with wood tool, etc.).
  3. Demo techniques.
  4. Explore variety of textures.
Day 4
  1. Continue additive method.
  2. Demonstrate subtractive method and found tools.
Day 5
  1. Students continue work, making sure to spray clay and wrap well after finishing for the day.
Day 6 1. Students complete projects. 2. Students critique sculptures.  

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