Life Cycle Mandalas
Submitted by: Kara LiCausi,
Northport Middle School - Northport, NY
Unit: Ceramics - Science Integration - Drawing -symbolism
Lesson: Life Cycles Mandalas - Ceramic relief - Drawing
Grade Level: Middle School (adaptable elementary through high school)
For now - adapt the Illuminated lesson plan from Kara below.
Basically what I had my students do (7th Grade) was to design Mandalas that had to do with cycles of Nature. They had to plan and design them and then we outlined the drawing in thin Sharpie Marker. I photocopied these drawings so that they would have a copy to use as a tracer on the clay.
They had to roll out a slab of Moist Clay that was about ½" (13 mm) thick. Then they used a pre-cut tracer (8" or 23 cm) to cut out the circle. They transferred the clay slab onto a plastic tray (with paper towel on the bottom so as not to stick) and then they laid the photocopy over the clay. They poked holes through the design with a pin tool (sometimes outlining the drawing with a pen will transfer enough, too).
Next, they had to roll out a coil that went around the edge (and scored and slipped that in place). From there, they decided which objects they wanted to build up and which they just wanted to carve. They used the photocopy as a template to make the different objects stand out. After they were fired we painted with tempera paint. Acrylic Gloss Medium may be applied to give a shiny look. Personal Mandala Ice Breaker is a good warm up activity for this lesson.
Alternate lesson idea: Byrd Tetzlaff Polymer clay (Sculpy/Fimo) Mandalas (Archive) - This is an assortment of Mandalas, made of Polymer Clay or Sculpey on Tile. Neat project idea for your students.
Often folks want to know what to do while the clay is firing. Here is a solution from Kara:
While the clay was in the Kiln, they worked on their drawings and colored with Colored Pencils. When finished, have students compare and contrast their clay relief with pencil drawing. Exploring an idea in more that one medium is a curriculum objective for most districts. Note the middles clay example with the first pencil example (thanks Kara for sending one that was the same). What changes did the artist have to make? Here is a tip from Judy-- I have gotten some amazing works from students having them use Prismacolor Colored Pencils on clay (the softer colored pencils work best - student grade ones are often to hard to leave a good mark - try your own brand before doing with kids). We painted with flat black acrylic house paint first.
Submitted by: Kara LiCausi, Northport Middle School - Northport, NY
Unit: Ceramics - Illumination - Drawing - symbolism -Middle Ages
Lesson: Illumination - Ceramic relief - Drawing
Grade Level: Middle School (adaptable elementary through high school)
Duration of Lesson: 2-3 weeks
Sixth graders created an Illuminated letter design using their first initial or last name initial. They added to the design with personal symbols of importance to them. They had to plan and design them and then we outlined the drawing in Sharpie Fine Point Markers. I photocopied these drawing so that they would have a copy to use as a tracer on the clay. They had to roll out a slab of clay that was about ½" (13 mm) thick. Then they used a pre-cut tracer (rectangle the size of drawing) to cut out the rectangle. They transferred the clay slab onto a plastic tray (with paper towel on the bottom so as not to stick - wood boards work nicely for this, too) and then they laid the photocopy over the clay. They poked holes through the design with a pin tool (sometimes outlining the drawing with a pen will transfer enough, too). Next, they had to roll out a coil that went around the edge of the letter (and scored and slipped that in place). From there, they decided which objects they wanted to build up and which they just wanted to carve. They used the photocopy as a template to make the different objects stand out. After they were fired we painted with Tempera Paint. Acrylic Gloss Medium may be applied to give a shiny look.
While students were waiting for their projects to dry and get bisque fired, they worked on their Colored Pencilsdrawings. This fits the curriculum objective to explore an idea in a variety of media.
The Mandala Project - With information and resources.
Creating Mandalas - This book is a practical guide to mandala drawing. Fincher introduces the history and ritual use of mandalas in cultures all over the world and discusses the symbolism of shapes, colors, numbers, and motifs, such as birds and flowers.
Coloring Mandalas 1 - The forty-eight drawings presented here for coloring include designs inspired by forms of nature, Native American and Tibetan sand paintings, Hindu yantras, Turkish mosaics, the illuminations of Hildegarde of Bingen, and the art of M.C. Escher. See also Volume 2.
One Million Mandalas: For You to Create, Print, and Color - This book includes a CD with art that is usable in three ways: with a couple of clicks you will be able to select and print one of the basic mandala designs, construct your own mandala by different ring designs from a drop-down menu, or randomly generate a mandala. Because there are 100 centers, 100 middle rings, and 100 outer rings, the disk supplies one million possible permutations and combinations!
Objectives: Upon completion of this project, the student will be able to:
Transform a 2-dimensional piece of artwork into a 3-dimensional sculpture.
Experiment with a variety of techniques and procedures while working with clay.
Exercise artistic editing as they apply the same basic design to two separate mediums.
Critique works of art - evaluate their meanings. Create a work of art with personal symbolism.
Exhibit craftsmanship in shading with pencils (show gradation in value - blend colors) - and painting with tempera. Select colors for personal symbolism
Rough copy of drawing, and 1 photocopy of drawing.
Moist Clay - Rolling Pins - Canvas Rolls - Wire End Clay Tool Set
Fettling Knives, Tray, damp cloth, plastic bags
Variety of Wire End Clay Tool Set - Slip
Tempera Paint (Acrylic Paint may also be used... as well as Underglazes and Clear Glaze)
Brushes (variety of sizes)
Crystal Clear Acrylic Spray Paint (for teacher use only)
Alternate: Flat black acrylic paint and Prismacolor Colored Pencils
- Examples of Illuminated Letters and Manuscripts
(see Ken Schwab's Lesson and Handouts)
- Examples of clay relief pieces
- Clare Goodwin's Mandala Page - With images and a digital Mandala maker.
- Sandra Hildreth Mandalas
Illuminated Manuscript - Symbolism
Relief - slab - Border - sprigging - Coils
(Also, Please see Ceramics Definitions [Archive] - Copy ones you need - Add more as needed)
The motivation of this project is to expose the students to the idea of working across the boundaries of two different mediums. The students will have first completed a drawing of an Illuminated Letter, where the emphasis was placed on design, use of value, and color. The students will then take the drawing and try to recreate it onto a Clay Relief. The emphasis for the clay piece will be placed on form, texture and craftsmanship. The students will make adjustments as they begin to understand the distinct characteristics of the two separate mediums. The clay relief is not meant to become an exact replica of the drawing; rather the drawing should serve as an inspiration for the clay piece.
Upon the start of this project, students have just completed designing and drawing an Illuminated Initial. Students were asked to draw the letter of their name within an 8"x10 (20 x 25.5 cm) piece of paper. The actual letter was surrounded by a 1" (2.5 cm) border on all sides. The students designed a border and then added "illuminations" or designs within the border. The illuminations could represent hobbies or interests, but should be something that the student closely identifies with. This drawing will be used as the basis for the clay relief. Rough copies of the drawings were outlined in permanent marker and then photocopied so that the photocopy may be used as a template for the clay.
Students will be given trays, plastic bags and a damp cloth to store the clay in as they work. They will then each be given a piece of Canvas to roll the clay on as well as a rolling pin. The students will need to roll out an 8"x10" (20 x 25.5 cm) slab of clay that is about ½ "thick. They may lay the photocopy on top of the clay to help reach the correct length and width. The students will then cut off any extra clay and transfer the slab onto the tray (with dry paper towel placed on the tray) by laying the tray over the clay and Canvas and then flipping the tray over. This will prevent the clay from bending or breaking.
Next, students will lay the photocopy on top of the clay and, using a pin tool; will poke holes into the clay (through the paper) along the lines that they have already drawn. These will serve as guidelines for where to place the designs.
The first step will be to lay coils along the edges of the letter. From there, the students may "build up" any areas on the clay that they feel is necessary This entire process should take about 5 days. After the students have finished building up the clay, they will leave the towel off the clay to allow the clay to slowly dry. When the clay is firm, they may carve out certain areas on their plaque. Finally, they will do any necessary smoothing and allow the clay to dry out slowly so that it will be ready for firing.
After the firing, students will paint their plaque with tempera paint. The painting portion of the project should take about 5 days. Emphasis will be placed on mixing and experimenting with colors. Finally, a clear acrylic spay will protect the paint.
As closure for this project, we will display the finished projects, along with the finished Illuminated drawings around the room from both of the 6th grade classes to allow the students to see the range of ideas that existed for a single project. We will then have an open class discussion based upon the idea allowing a single idea to transform through the use of different mediums.
Students will be participating in a critique. They will each be given an evaluation where they will be asked to critique and evaluate their own work as well as the work of their peers. Compare and contrast their two illumination works. What kind of adjustments did they have to make?