The end of the year always seems to be a flash of events. Although I try and be my best teacher self year round, sometimes I make compromises as time runs out. One of the compromises this semester was glazing our clay creatures. The amount of firing time would not work with the amount of days left in the semester, so we used other methods to color the little creative critters. Here are three alternatives to glaze you can use if you run out of firing time, too:
1. Tempera Paint
Tempera paint is a great stand-by for students and teachers alike. This paint comes in a variety of colors and absorbs into the bisque wonderfully. You know exactly what you are going to get because the colors dry the color they look and you do not have to worry about ruining brushes or mishaps on clothes because it is a water-based non-permanent solution. I usually buy the large Gallon Tempera paints and then pour them into smaller bottles (like these from Blick I just purchased and LOVE) for students to distribute on their pallets. I try to give them the rule of pouring "three colors at a time, the size of dime" as to not waste paint.
Watercolor is the paint that solves so many problems! Like tempera, it is a water-based material that will not destroy brushes or clothing and it ends up looking exactly how you view it. Because of the play on opacity, you can layer colors and create so many effects with this material. I use Prang watercolor pallets that are at least a decade old because I like how easy it is to replace colors once they have been used.
3. Oil Pastel and Watercolor
This method is relatively new to me. I first learned of this technique on the Art Teacher Facebook group. A generous teacher shared the results of using oil pastel on clay with a watercolor/tempera wash and I was immediately intrigued. I find that this works best on textured clay, like the creature above (the student used a bright blue oil pastel and then used a darker watercolor over). When you use oil pastel on clay, it acts as a resist to the water-based paint, resulting in a beautiful effect.
In order to make the finishes selected by students permanent, we used a clear-gloss acrylic paint and dabbed it over top. it is important to dab, rather than paint, to prevent smearing. The gloss goes on white, but dries clear and gives the pieces a nice shine while locking in the color.
You can see the full gallery of results on our Artsonia page. Here is an example of each:
Teaching Visual Arts since 2004 and making images since picking up a crayon.