Saturday, 5 April 2014

animals of clay {a family activity photo story}

This was one of those activities that could have gone horribly wrong, but somehow everyone kept their cool and had a fab time!

Out past Bristol airport is a walled garden which includes a few artists studios, one of which houses Clayability, run by Bill Moore.  We were taking part in a workshop - the plan was for Smiler, Noah and Petal to make an animal each, but (surprise surprise!) it didn't quite turn out like that!

The views from outside the studio was incredible - so many colours, so much texture - easy to see why studios were built there!  The guy in the picture is Bill - a well established potter who has branched out into teaching, and clearly loves what he does.  The group included several young people with disabilities as well as their siblings, and it's safe to say the noise level in the studio was pretty high, and the attention level (at times!) pretty low, but Bill was not at all phased - brave man!

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Petal in particular loves crafty projects, but had some trouble starting off - got there in the end though.  The first part of the process was to make a hollow ball, to be the main body section of whichever animal they had chosen.  Noah went for a bat; Petal, an owl; and Smiler, a minion.  What can I say - the boy loves the minions...

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Bohemian rhapsody thing going on with the kids there, all lined up!  Smiler was very reluctant to touch the clay, so rather than him being left out or getting stroppy, Mr Manley helped, while Smiler supervised instead!

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Bill continued offering support, working his way around the group answering questions and making tactful suggestions when he could see things might not work out!  Noah got really involved - he's at that stage now when he's too cool for everything (and seems to be allergic to wearing a coat) but he was so focused on what he was doing, and mostly managed not to get frustrated when he couldn't make the clay do what he wanted.

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Loving the concentration on their faces as their animals started to take shape.

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Petal carving feathers into her owl's wings, while Smiler was delighting in creating hair for his minion!  I think it helped that a lot of the tools that were used were things they had all seen before - cocktail sticks for example, and spoons.  Using tools that are straight forward and functional meant they were easy for the kids to master, and the effects were great - Smiler's garlic press minion hair for example!

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Ta da!

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Thank you, Bill, we all had a wonderful time!


  1. Love it! What a great outing and the clay creations were awesome!! and the photos too!
    Julia's Mimi

  2. Thank you Lisa, the kids had such a great time and it was lovely to see how encouraging the tutor was - as I'm sure you know with your experiences with Julia there are a lot of people who feel very uncomfortable around these fantastic kids. I'll update the post with photos of the animals once we've picked them up - not sure if we're going to paint them or not yet!
    Thanks for reading Lisa, and for taking the time to comment - I love your enthusiasm!


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