Saturday, May 14, 2016

New batch of clay cacti pots and desert silhouettes

Here's a lesson I have posted about many times, and I think I have found the best presentation so far - so new post! Here goes - first I'll share a few pics from earlier...
We have made these clay pinch pots with cacti and succulent plants for several years in 4th grade:

And since starting our Artsonia portfolios, we needed a better presentation method, so we tried some different ways of photographing our 3-D works, starting with variegated tissue paper which looked a little like a sunset sky:

Since the students were also learning about what these plants are and where they come from, we started making some cut paper silhouettes as a backdrop, featuring cactus shapes:

So cool! But the silhouettes were kind of temporary, so from there we painted our own colorful skies and made landscapes that could stand as works of art on their own as well as serving as a backdrop for our clay work. We focused on blending analogous colors to keep from getting a muddy sky - it helps to not use water when painting these, because you want blended colors: 

This is a fantastic lesson because there are so many elements to explore - science, culture, color - and plenty of room for kids to experiment. Here's a view from our Artsonia gallery: 


  1. These look Fantastic! I Love the combination of the clay cacti with the desert silhouettes!

  2. These look fabulous! Thanks for sharing the process, it's interesting to see how the backgrounds evolved.

  3. Love the silhouettes and skies, I want to go to Mexico!

  4. I love the growth into multiple media. All have a wonderful impact. Reminds me of shopping Mexican markets down the Pacific coast. Great project.

  5. A thing of beauty!! I love every part of this lesson. I've thought about how I could do it TN style...because many of my students would not connect to that landscape. Though...I may just go into a great social studies lesson on the southwest/Mexico and do it anyway!!!

  6. So wonderful. Love the colors and the motive.

    Greetings from a Danish art teacher and blogger :

  7. Wow, these are amazing! What a fantastic program you have, and the kids are so lucky to have you as their art teacher!


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