Tuesday, November 23, 2010

HS Explores Henna

This project was a total experimentation that flopped in some ways, but the end results were somewhat I pictured in my head.

We started making clay hands using 2 slabs and connecting them together.  We put newspaper in between for support and so our clay wouldn't be too thick.  We also poked holes near the bottom so that more air could go through the entire hand.  I had my high schoolers work in partners to get this all done in one 50 minute class period.  Thankfully the next day we did not have school because I was able to put the first ones in the kiln.  It was perfect timing because I was able to see the massive explosion in the kiln before the other half of my students proceeded.  I quickly realized there were too many variables and this was perhaps too complex of a construction for my students who have little experience with clay.  Quick thinking led me to change my plan instead of scrapping it all together.  I really wanted to do this project, so I decided we would just do 1 slab and it would be flat.  Not my ideal work, but it would do.

After they were fired in the kiln, we mixed some flesh tone watercolor to paint the hands.  We then looked at the history of henna or mehndi in a power point.  We talked about how it is made, the process, the purpose, and looked at many cool examples.  I had my students sketch out on paper the designs they wanted to do before moving on.  They then could transfer on to the clay hand using pencil or could freehand the designs on.  We used many colors of sharpie to do this.  I limited students to no more than 3 colors so that it wouldn't get all crazy!  The results were pretty cool!

This assignment was very open-ended in terms of design and as you can see I got varied results.  From flowery-girly designs to more masculine, tattoo-like designs they all turned out very well.

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