Sunday, June 7, 2009
After countless hours (well, not exactly countless...about 2o!) the sixth grade mural at Brandon School is completed. With only the grouting left to go, I snapped a few pictures on the last day of school. Every year we create a new mural. Different themes and different styles and all beautiful. The Butterfly mural is our third one.
To start, I hold a class specifically for explaining the purpose of the mural, the process of creating homemade tiles and then go on to talk about our theme. After this class, each student will have made a drawing the same scale as their final tile. In this case, a drawing of a butterfly.
The next class is the biggie. I prepare for the class by cutting two 6" x 6" tiles for each student (124 in all). The students lay their drawing over one clay tile and etch in their drawing. Using a cutting tool, they cut out their butterfly and affix it to the second tile. We talk about scoring, creating dimension by folding and lifting the wings, creating a background and finally ensuring that all added on pieces of clay are securely attached.This process takes about an hour and I help the kids who are struggling with the fine details of this project. If you can swing it, have parents help. I had four parents assisting with this project.
The last part of the class involves painting the tile with under-glaze. Traditional ceramic methods call for drying and firing the tile first, but my class time with the student's was limited to only two sessions, so I combined the making of the tile with the painting.
After the painting, the tiles were set in a cupboard to dry. This took about ten days. Once dry, the tiles were fired, then glazed and fired again.
The results are beautiful. I'm so pleased with how engaged the children were. This is their legacy to the school and all seemed to consider this carefully while working on their tiles.
Well done, sixth graders!