I use clay a lot in many projects (and have done for years, its one of my favourite materials), but I usually use it in a very open-ended way without firing it. However these tiles will be fired - and will form part of a series of artworks, signs, welcome messages and adornments of the outside entrance area at the new campus of the school.
The children have been using clay with me for some time and have built up a series of techniques as they've explored many different things they can do with clay; they've been incredibly articulate about the things they've discovered. We've been exploring different ways of working with clay before we've begun to work on these tiles - and this means the children have a great dexterity and awareness of manipulating clay.
Rather than set a specific shape and size of tile, I've been showing them how to wedge, roll and cut their own squares and rectangles - which means we are building up a whole series of tiles that will fit together but which have their own uniqueness.
I'm loving the patterns that are emerging - lots of discoveries of creating different imprints with all sorts of objects. There's also been lots of excited discoveries about ways of building up raised patterns and using slip ("its like glue") and cross-hatching to stick things together.
We've set up a working area with a series of images to give us ideas and a growing collection of things that imprint patterns into the clay (some favourites are lace, duplo, pencils and string).
Its also been wonderful to work with the parents group to create tiles too - they've had some fantastic ideas and its so important to include them in this project.