I’ve been making things since I could fold, glue, and stitch. Making things is big in our family: quilting, crocheting, knitting, woodworking, fishing lure crafting. And then there was me. I designed doll houses, modeled towns, figured out how to lay track so no one would trip over it, and I learned to do what the grown-ups were doing.
I’ve never worked with clay. Polymer clay fascinates me because it can be rolled very thin without cracking and its uses are endless. So when I saw this book I wondered if it’s a way for me to get started. The answer is yes but, more importantly, it’s a terrific way for KIDS to get started. Thinking ahead to summer, I think this book is a must-have for bored kids finding a purpose in life.
The photos are sharp, revealing, and easy to follow.
Even better, the writing is masterful.
The creator of this book, Cassie Stephens, is an art teacher, working with young children, so she knows just what to say, folding in effortless lessons.
“Imagine that you had a giant crayon or pencil. How fund would that be? Many artists draw inspiration from familiar objects when creating their art. This form of art is called pop art. The word pop comes from popular culture, or items that surround us in everyday. Pencils and crayons are a part of everyday life, so why not use them as subjects for a big pop art sculpture?”
I like that she offers practical advice:
“Don’t do the work for the children. If you decide to create alongside of children, never pick up their pieces and work on them. This indicates that you are the artist and they aren’t. Simply get a new piece of clay and go over the steps slowly with them on your own piece. They will be happier with a finished work of art that they created themselves.” As in clay, so in life.
The Table of Contents is excellent. The list of supplies offers good reasons why you would use an item as well as possible substitutes. If you don’t have the budget for polymer clay, she offers several kinds of no heat, non-toxic, make-at-home clays. There’s a section on how to create textures on your clay that has me looking at items in our home with calculating eyes.
There are so many projects that caught my attention. Bobblehead Pets, Rose Sculpture, Tie-Dye Turtles, and Magical Forest Friend Door.
That’s just four of fifty-two ideas that will appeal to kids who have differing interests.
Best of all, there’s science, math, engineering, and language skills on every page of this book. Manual dexterity, cognitive skills, imagination … go for it!
Clay Lab for Kids: 52 Projects to Make, Model, and
Mold with Air-Dry, Polymer, and Handmade Clay
Quarry Books, 2017
144 pages in paperback
suggested for preschoolers, but don’t let that stop you