Thursday, August 22, 2013

DIY Clay Rings from The Sparkle Factory

Futzing around with clay is a big pastime around here. The girls like it enough that I've occasionally considered signing them up for a pottery class, but ugh--scheduling! I HATE scheduling extracurriculars! I can't believe that I used to actually gripe that my kids never wanted to try anything new; now they want to try ALL. THE. THINGS, and I gripe about having to either deny them opportunities or overschedule our precious free time.


We were talking about futzing with clay. A publicist sent me a free copy of The Sparkle Factory, and the girls and I have spent a surprising amount of time in the last week playing with the surprisingly addictive process of making clay rings, using the tutorial from the book.

It looks a little like this:

And then you have this!

My ring is pretty sedate--

--but the girls' rings are AMAZING! 
Sydney's ring has a top embellished with clay discs.
Willow's ring has an embedded crinoid fossil!
The project has inspired us, as we've since crafted bracelets, pendants, beads, and other little trinkets, all from our Sculpey stash. I have plans to see if our cat paw prints that we usually do in salt dough would work equally well in this medium, too.

Would the chickens tolerate having their footprints made in clay, I wonder?


Tina said...

Those rings are awesome! How do you account for the shrinkage when you bake them?

Clay is so relaxing to play with. For about a year, any time Emma was watching t.v. she would also be working some clay. Never really made much with it, but she loved to just play with the clay to keep her hands busy.

I signed Emma up for a pottery class last year and she loved it. I might see if we can find one this winter as our barn won't have their indoor arena up yet so no horse lessons this winter.

julie said...

They didn't shrink at all! We used a brand of Sculpey that doesn't require you to condition it forever before it's soft enough to sculpt with--I don't know if that brand also doesn't shrink, or if it's a polymer clay thing.

Our arena does horse lessons over the winter, but it's not heated, so I haven't decided if we'll skip the winter session or not. Ideally, I'd like the girls to do pottery and also learn general sculpture techniques--I wonder if that's two different classes?

Tina said...

When Emma took pottery lessons, she learned the sculpture techniques. She didn't learn to use the wheel because she didn't have enough upper body strength for working the wheel.

julie said...

Oh, sure, that makes sense. I've done a little potterymaking on the wheel, and I can attest to that! I wonder how old kids generally are before they can throw a pot?

Tina said...

Like everything, each kid is different, but where we were doing lessons, I believe she recommended 14.

I wonder if there are different things one could learn on the wheel that doesn't require as much upper body strength.