During our “Brain” themed art lessons, we looked at the art of David Shillinglaw from the UK. He is known for his drawings, paintings and sculpture that responds to planet Earth, the cosmos, nature, landscape, & humans in the universe. He had an exhibition in Spain in March 2022 entitled COSMOS which included a number of paintings and clay sculptures of human heads presented as a “vessel full of dreams, a flesh machine in constant flux” and a “cosmic container, filled with fears, fantasies, facts and fictions. Enjoy your head space, it’s where you live”.
We discussed his Pot Heads (I called them Clay Heads!) and his Humanoid artworks, describing them and suggesting meanings that might be expressed by them, especially in relation to our brain and it’s various parts and functions.
To make the head, we used air dry clay, as sadly I do not have a kiln. The students broke their piece of clay into half and used one piece to form a “tall” thumb pot, drawing the sides up rather than out. The other half was used to make the top of the head (brain!) and the neck. The top of the head was formed into a shallow pot until it fitted the bottom part of the head. Students used the scratch and slip method to join the neck to the head, then smoothed the clay together for a seamless join. They needed to make sure it sat steadily and was balanced with the “brain hat” on top.
Students used acrylic tempera paint to paint their heads. Once dry they used paint pens to add details.