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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Animal Totems

Today I had the wonderful opportunity to make art with four of my students prior to the start of school.
I knew they wanted to use clay and make a sculpture, so I went with the theme of animal totems in mind.
In fun conversation I shared my example. A cross between a duck and a fish. I explained that I like to talk a lot and in the summer I love to be in or near the water, and that is how the duckfish was born.

The kids, grades 3 to 5, stretched  their imaginations to think of an animal or animals that could in some way represent who they are or their personality, and this is what we came up with.
A beautiful dolphin with butterfly wings, a little bluebird, the duckfish, a scary chameleon with shark teeth, and a creepy tarantula.

I just love them!!! We had a blast!!! and the BEST part is... THEY ONLY TOOK AN HOUR!!!

We started by choosing a plastic bottle.
Then we built a head for our animal totem/creature from Sculpty. Sculpty is a great material for work with small groups but too expensive for the classroom. If I did this in the classroom I would use real clay or model magic.
While the clay heads were in the oven we went to work on the bodies using every craft goodie we could find. I had a box with googlie eyes, feathers, buttons, sequins, pipe-cleaners, fabric and paper scraps and more.

This project really got me thinking… if we used 4 bottles we could make totem poles, show more animals, and make the heads interchangeable, like mix between a totem and an exquisite corpse. 


  1. oooh I love the idea of the exquisite corpse!!! You could totally tie in some writing there too.
    I'm your newest follower. I've just started blogging about teaching art - would love for you to check it out!

  2. Love it! These are great - and a quick result too.