Monday, November 25, 2013

Enviro Ceramics

 
C.Dwyer Enviro Ceramics

I attended a professional development workshop called Enviro Ceramics...the mix of science/geography and art was brilliant and is a perfect idea for the primary classroom. So ingenious it had never crossed my mind how to utilise the art making of ceramics in a different way. There were two ways we approached this; Mould Making and Seed Bombs. 

What is Enviro Ceramics? It is about sustainable practices of art making mixed with guerrilla gardening.  Guerrilla Gardening was a movement which started around the 1970s in New York as a way of brightening up the local cityscape by throwing seeds which were embedded in a clay ball with soil onto vacant land and other uninhabited places. The purpose of the seed clay ball was to provide the seeds protection from the elements and a nutritional womb to foster growth. As the seed grows and nature breaks down the clay the plant/flower has had enough of a chance for survival. Since then, other ways of enviro ceramics have evolved, especially in areas of poor vegetation.

Materials/Equipment
  • Clay (fine porcelain for moulds)  
  • Use bought plaster moulds or make your own
  • Soil
  • Seeds/Plants/Seedlings
  • Bucket/Bowl  
  • Clay tools
Age: Yr 3 +

Moulds 



1. Pour porcelain in to half mould and cover fully. Let it partially set -this may take 30mins or more depending on temperature. When you see a 5mm dry edge, pour the unset porcelain back into bucket. Allow to dry to the point of leather hard. You will know it is dry enough when the clay pulls away from the plaster mould. 
2. (See photos of Seed bomb method for similar approach) Get the two halfs ready. Add some soil to one half and soil/seeds in other half (alternatively the seeds could be wrapped in cotton wool to make it easier for little kids to join the halves together).
3. Get the students to clap the halves together and push slightly to hold. Show the students how to join using your finger or a tool -just seal the seem. If you have used seedlings, make sure there is a bit of room around the neck


Seed Bombs
1. Start by getting a ball of clay and breaking it in half into two smaller balls. 
2. Create a pinch pot so there are two half pinch pots
3. Had a little soil to one half, and your chosen seeds in the other half (leave enough room so when you shake it you can hear the seeds rattling around)
4. Join the halves together and press firm slightly. With your finger seal the seems.



 
 








Extension Activity: Get your students to decorate the ball into something; a creature, animal, Angry Bird.




Throw/Place your enviro ceramic artworks in the garden and watch them grow.

Link to Curriculum: 
Science 
Get students to watch the growth of the plant/flower through observations and chart it. Get students to have different study groups e.g. Full sun/Half sun exposure, Manual watering/Natural watering etc.  

Geography
Teach students about the earth and different types of dirt/sand/clay and where it can be found and how it is formed.