This instructable will give you the how to of creating your own stoneware turtle appropriate for elementary school aged children and really children of all ages, let's get started!
(This is a photo of a box turtle in Missouri, I called him fluffy....no I didn't keep fluffy, wild animals should stay in the wild, but I did do a photo shoot with him)
Step 1: Materials Needed
Random clay tools- at min you need something to score with and something to use to cut like a felting knife
Small container of water
Tooth pick (or a needle tool)
Small canvas to work with your clay
Kiln (to fire the stoneware )
Step 2: Wedge Your Clay
They will need to wedge the clay. There are several different wedging techniques, use what you are comfortable with.
Because this is a small piece, I like to use the throw down technique, and no that's not it's proper name, Basically you take the clay and throw it onto the canvas, pick it up, turn the clay and do it again. Do this at least 30 times. You are working out any air bubbles that might be in the clay, getting the moisture to even out through the clay, work out any hard pieces and all around condition your clay.
Step 3: Cut the Clay in Half
This is my first year teaching in this district and they had not ceramic taught in the school for over twenty years. Needless to say there were no clay tools. When I bought our kiln some clay tools came with it (YAY) so I have some cheap green tools. One day I hope to get better tools in the room.
OK where were we.
If the clay is not two perfect pieces do not fret, it's 100% ok.
Step 4: Pat One Half Into a Ball
If your clay is cracking, and depending on your clay body at this stage it is possible that this happens. take your fingers and put them in your water bowl and rub your hands together then pat some more. You don't want to over saturate your clay, a little water goes a long way. Just dipping your fingers and patting the water into the clay will help reintroduce water into the clay body with out making a slimy mess.
Step 5: Create a Pitch Pot
Take your thumb and for finger and pinch the side. Then twist the clay and do this again all around the pot. Remember to punch in not out. If you flare the clay out you will get a wider mouth but you can get dangerously thin weak walls.
You want the sides to be around a 1/4 of an inch thick, thicker is ok, but don't go thinner, your poor turtle will collapse if you do.
Step 6: Creating Legs
Now, cut your lump into three pieces.
Take two of the pieces and roll out a coil (some kids like to call these snakes) Tell them to get the coil about the thickness of a dime, maybe just a little smaller. To thin, your poor turtle won't stand.
Cut one of the coils in half. Then put them beside each other and cut again.
You now have four legs
Step 7: Attaching Legs
To slip and score you make a cross hatch on the clay where the leg is going, then on the part of the leg that is going to attach to the shell.
Once you place them together smooth the two clay body using the back of your nail or a clay tool.
If your joints look a little ruff, it's ok, we can clean those up a bit later, or you can do it now, but I like to get the whole turtle finished then touch it up, that way if we have to store the turtle and come back to it, it's in one piece.
Step 8: Creating the Head
Pinch the coil end to get the head shape you want.
Pinch the other end flat to make a plain to attach the head to the underneath of the turtle.
Scratch and score all areas where the clay will touch and attach together.
Just like our legs, smooth the two clay bodies together to get a good bond.
Step 9: Creating the Tail
Scratch and score and attach the tail.
Step 10: Fixing Cracks
At this point you can also start cleaning your turtles joins and smoothing it out.
Step 11: Adding Detail
Step 12: Drying
Once it's bone dry, you can put it in the kiln and do a bisque fire. (I'll make an instructable later on firing a kiln)
Step 13: After the Bisque Fire
There are several options:
Paint the turtle with water color and seal it
Paint the turtle with acrylic paint
Use iron oxide on the turtle and fire again
Glaze the turtle
Step 14: Glaze the Turtle
Step 15: Student Examples
Step 16: PoofRabbit's Tips and Tricks
* Remind students there is no magic fix in clay, once fired it will look like it did when they finished, if they want to add more detail or clean it up more then need to do that before it gets leather hard
Questions? Ask away I am sure I'm forgetting something! :)