Hannah Overman Koch

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Musical Clay

Recently, I came across a wonderful interdisciplinary lesson plan working with clay!

Organic Clay Rattles

I can't wait to teach this for the first time!  
Kids are going to love it!!

It is fairly simple and a great way to incorporate textural elements 
and have students exploring form making with slabs of clay.

I used ceramic clay, but you can also use air dry clay.

Check out this link - Dick Blick to see their detailed instructions and short video!

My directions included:

Step 1:  Create small pellets and different size balls of clay to use as the sound makers.
Step 2: Roll out slabs of clay
Step 3: Use recycled objects, stamps and other interesting objects to create the deep textural             elements on the slab.
Step 4: Cut off excess clay and begin to experiment with the clay to create an interesting form.
Step 5: Use the slip, score and smooth method to adhere sides together.  Remember to add in your sound makers.  They may need a coat of corn starch.  I did not use cornstarch, I  created the pellets first and allowed them to dry some while I was creating the texture on my slab.  And I checked that my rattles made noise before I put them into the kiln.
** Don't forget the air holes!**

After Kiln Firing:
** I fired my rattles twice, but I may try only kiln firing next time.  

Add acrylic paint!  Of course, if you use 2 contrasting colors the texture on the rattles will pop!  And use metallics - they really add something special!!  Then I finished them off with an acrylic sealer spray.

Top rattle:  metallic green on top of a chartreuse green
Middle rattle:  metallic pearl white over a kelly green over a periwinkle blue.
Bottom rattle: copper metallic on top of  hot pink.

I love the subtle texture on this one brought out by the metallic paint!

It actually cracked on top as it was drying, but the paint worked well to conceal it some.

It looks like a pillow!

A nice place for your thumb at the bottom.

It's hard to see the contrast on this one between the greens.

This form was made by rolling up a long rectangle and adding a top and bottom.

It's not straight though, I put a slight curve in it to better fit the hand.

This rattle is very small and the firmer grip you have on it,
the less sound comes from it!

This rattle also has a bend in it.

My favorite - texture!!!

Interdisciplinary lesson plans bring in various subjects into one lesson!  As my professor once said... "The world isn't divided out by subjects, why should the classroom?"

Did you know...
 Rattles are one of the oldest forms of music and crosses many many cultures.

This lesson shares the history of rattles, a musical aspect and the elements of art.

Love it!!

sharing a great idea, my love of clay, art making and teaching on this artist holiday,


  1. what a fun project. I may have to try it myself. I now work part time at an environmental education center and they are starting an artist colony. There is now a potter in residence. He has a stab roller and I am looking into open studio times. love this project and nice to catch up with what you are creating.

  2. Thanks Jill!! I have missed seeing all you have been up to too!! Congrats on your new venture!! :). Try this out - you'll love it!