My daughter has something of an obsession with fairies and spends a lot of time crafting elaborate houses for them. I’ve lost count at how many she’s made, and some of them live permanently outside. She’s made them at her grandparents’ house, too. Whenever we bust out the playdough she’s made little plates and bowls and food for the fairies but, because of the ephemeral nature of play dough creations, they’ve all crumbled and disintegrated and become, well, gross. What she’s needed was clay.
Enter my artistic Aunt Trisha. Aunt Trisha is a full-time artist who can create art with anything: eggs, oil, stained glass, dolls, sculpture, and of course, clay. During our last visit she learned of Isobel’s desire to “make art” and promised to send us some Sculpey clay in the mail. (She did the exact same thing for me when I was a kid, and for much of my life my main goal was to be an artist “like Aunt Trisha.”)
When the box arrived I squirreled it away to be used as part of our Daily Summer Fun Thing. I set aside a whole day for this activity because I knew she was going to love it and it would occupy her for a long time, and also because the process involves more steps than play dough and it’s been so long since I’ve used clay I knew there’d be a learning curve. The box came with instructions which I glanced at but Isobel was chomping at the bit and I learn by doing, so we tossed caution and the directions to the wind and forged ahead.
Some of the things we made include:
- a fairy’s cup of water
- a bowl with strawberries inside
- a pink and a red bell pepper
- several varieties (colors) of carrots
- a mandarin orange
- strawberries of various sizes
- two bowls
- a plate
- a weird giant mushroom that I think I may have overbaked a tad
- a plum
- a slice of watermelon
- candy canes
- an eggplant that doesn’t exist in nature probably
See if you can spot them from the pictures!
I put on various clay tutorial videos on from pinterest and youtube as inspiration while we worked, though we didn’t follow any of them. I did notice that in just about all the videos the women who were expertly creating the most amazing things out of clay also had long, immaculately done faux nail manicures. I am finally healthy enough to have long nails again and they were immediately crusted over with clay. I have no idea how those women managed to keep their manis clean, rhinestones and all. It’s a mystery to me. This is one of the facets of womanly arts I know I will just never master. (And I’m fine with that!)
The one tip that we learned from a video that we did follow was tremendously helpful and worth sharing: Have a small bowl of cornstarch handy for dipping molding utensils in so they won’t stick when you un-mold them. We used paintbrushes of various sizes plus two little tools my aunt sent us.
This was super fun and we are already planning on what we are going to make next time–beads maybe. Elias was with us and so he didn’t feel left out we gave him regular play dough, which he tried to eat whenever he thought I wasn’t looking.