Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Making "Button" Bugs with Clay

We call this variation on making bugs with clay a “Button Bug” because you add buttons all over the body to make it interesting. Use your imagination with this one! 
An easy bug to make with clay
Clay (stoneware, terracotta or a non-hardening modeling clay will work)
*Slip (slurry made from old, dry clay and water to use as paste with stoneware or terracotta)
Wooden skewer
Old newspaper
Buttons or other items to make imprints in clay – nut shells, seeds, bark, beads, drinking straw
Wire for the antennae

1. Using a ball of clay the size of a golf ball, form a pinch pot.  Turn the edges of the pot our like you are making the brim of a hat.  Stuff the pot with paper to keep the form and place the opening of the pinch pot face down.
Start with a pinch pot with a wide brim.
2. Using a smaller ball of clay (walnut-sized) create another pinch pot. Flatten the pinch pot into a wide mouth and attach the head to the body by scratching and scoring the head. * 
Your bug's mouth can have lips, teeth or even a tongue!
3. Roll small clay balls the size of marbles for eyes and attach to the body of your bug above the mouth.*

4. Make 20 small balls of clay and flatten each one into a disk the size of a dime.  Using the textures you have on hand, imprint each of the disks with a different pattern. You may want some repetition but remember – variety is the spice of life! Press the “buttons” onto the body of your bug mixing up textures to create an interesting bug.*
Use lots of different "found objects" to create imprints on the "buttons."
5.  If you want to add antennae, cut one-inch pieces of wire and poke them into holes on either side of the head. You can add small balls of clay at the end of each antenna if you like. If you are using stoneware or terracotta, go ahead and make the holes now and you can add the antennae after the piece is fired. 
You can use different colors of clay too for variety.
*If you are working with stoneware or terracotta, you will need to use the slip as glue to attach each piece to your bug. Using the pencil, make scratch marks on both surfaces you will be joining. Apply the slip to the piece of clay you are adding and press the piece into place.

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