Lesson #4: Creating an Animal Head Lid

Part of the unit: Discoveries in Clay |


How can we make an animal head lid and knob?
Students will be able to:
Create lids for their pots.
Sculpt a small animal head.
Attach two pieces of clay together
Describe how ancient artists combined animals and vessels, and identify which parts of the animal have become which parts of the vessel.
clay, clay tools, student drawings from lesson 3, student drawings from museum visit, clay work from lesson 1, a pot of slip (watery clay) and a brush for each table
Images of animals; images of animal sculptures from museum visit
Show images of pre-Columbian pots. Ask students to tell you what they learned about these pots and their artists at the museum. Examine a vessel and identify its different parts, such as the foot, the handle, the spout, etc. and discuss how animal parts are depicted. Invite the student to speculate as to what tools, if any, the artist used. Today we will make lids for our pinch pots and we will sculpt animal heads to attach to our lids as knobs.
Score the surface of the lid at the center point and score the bottom of the head. Apply slip to the lid using the brush. Press the head onto the lid and smooth the seam to hide the attachment.
As students sculpt animal heads remind them to use pinching, pulling and incising techniques. They can refer to what they saw at the museum by looking at their sketches. They can use the same animal reference materials introduced during the last class. When animal heads are finished students can attach them to their pots' lids using the score, slip, smooth technique.
Display pots and lids together on a table and invite students to take turns describing a classmate's pot, asking them:
  • Which animal features do you see?
  • What techniques might the artist have used to create these features?
  • Which pot would you like to use, and for what? Why?