Lesson Plan: Ceramic Fish Sculpture

Standing Fish Vessel

Submitted by: Linda Erling-Baker, Archbishop Walsh High School
Project: Ceramic fish
Grades: 7-12
Standing fish vessel
Alternate Lesson - ArtsConnectEd

 

Objectives:

  • Organic form in ceramics- sculptural ceramics

  • Look for pattern in nature - art with science

  • Create textures and pattern in clay

  • Demonstrate craftsmanship in handling materials

  • Explore ceramic decorating techniques

  • Appreciation of Oriental art, Raku pottery

Materials:

Photographs of fish, live goldfish and beta fish, Moist Clay., Canvas Rolls., rolling pins, guide sticks, Slip. dishes, Clay Modeling Tools., Wire End Clay Tool Set., assorted gadgets for textures, various laces, potato sacks, stamps …and other assorted textures. Glazes, Underglazes., Brushes., India ink. (for Raku look).
Dowel rods and wood for bases, wire for hanging

 

ceramic fish       ceramic fish
Fish is made by fusing two humped slabs - or by coil vessel. Tail is flared out for support. Fins are added.

 

ceramic fish

This example was glazed black - then accented with paint markers.

See Functional Fish Sculpture - by Marvin Bartel

Motivation:

  1. Slides of Oriental art showing a fish motif

  2. Egyptian Faience Fish (from Getty ArtsEdNet) – discuss symbolism (no longer online)

  3. Demonstrations in forming techniques.

  4. Actual live fish to draw ( gold fish and beta).

Procedures:

1. Study photographs of fish or live goldfish and beta fish. Draw fish large enough - body should be about 4"x9" with fins and tail extending to edges 9x12 paper (some of our fish grew quite large)

2. Wedge and roll out slab of clay using guide sticks to insure even thickness of slab

3. Cut out shape of fish including fins and tail.  Round up body portion of fish over a newspaper hump.  Texture body and fins using a variety of tools- use natural or inventive designs (using a variety stamps and textures provide—or carve in texture)   Alternate method: Make body from two pinch pots. Score and fuse together. Make small opening for mouth (so air can escape). This method makes a fish with a rounder body.

4. Roll out another slab- cut out body portion only. Round out body over newspaper hump (texture or use wire loop tools to carve in texture)

5. Fuse body portions together when leather hard.  Score and apply slip to secure seam. Hide seam with rubbed in or carve texture to match body.  Leave mouth open for air to escape - OR make hole in back for hanging on a wall. Some of our fish were standing sculptures with open mouths. Wall mounts had holes in the back - cut when leather hard. some chose to make a pocket fish - cut a larger fish body with tails and fins attached and kept that flat - the cut just the body portion and humped that up - leaving the top open for a plant or whatever - these were also wall mounts. Holes were made in flat piece to hang with jute. ArtsConnectED lesson - leave bottom of fish open so fish will stand (and paper is easy to remove)

6. Add eyes, gills, additional fins (pectoral and gill fins). Make free standing on fins - or put holes in back for hanging on wall (insert wire into holes after firing)- or put hole in under belly to mount on stick and wood base.

7. Glaze after bisque firing. May use Underglazes. and Clear Glaze.. Crackle, if desired, to make fish simulate the Raku firing of the Japanese. To crackle- brush India ink over entire fish --- then wash off (ink will go in crack of glaze) Alternate finish - watercolor paints - with Crystal Clear Acrylic Spray Paint. when dry. Linda Erling Baker used metallic paints for her fish.

 

Alternate Assignments:

For students who are behind - or for those who have fewer classer periods each week:
Make flat relief sculpture fish - cut out one fish body with fins and tail attached and hump up body to round... texture... add additional fins. See Linda Erling Baker's Golden Fish Treaure.

 

Alternate for Free Standing Fish Sculpture

  1. Make mirror image slab body with back connected. Bend over a newspaper hump and fuse face and tail section.

  2. Add back fin and tail - try to show movement - add fins out to the side for support so fish will stand.

Alternate - "Fish Sticks" - Fun and whimsical - Fish mounted on a dowel into wood base.

  1. Look at names of fish - create a visual pun from the fish name - or create your own character fish - new fish name. Make same as above - 3-D hollow sculpture. Make humorous. Example - a Tiger barb may have a tiger head. An Angel fish may have wings and a halo. Put hole in belly for dowel rod. Sand and paint a wood base. Glaze or paint the humorous fish and mount. See Karen Williams Smith's Lady Fish (soft sculpture).

Evaluation:

Student self-evaluation.

Student written critique

 

Grade form:

7Th GRADE - Ceramic Fish      Name__________________

 

DESIGN

CONSTRUCTION

CRAFTSMANSHIP

PATTERNS/TEXTURES

GLAZING

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Other

Other

Other

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Other

 

 


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