Modeling with clay
is a 100% natural material, ideal for kid-sized hands and great for us adults too !
Childhood memories just start flooding back as soon as you get your hands on the stuff ! Easy to shape, smooth, work with your hands or with tools from the kitchen or a play dough-style set.
The models shown
|Your clay needs to be kept in a damp cloth whilst you're working, and then all together in a plastic bag ready for the next time.|
Baking : Only really necessary for clay models with very delicate parts that can crack if the clay's not baked. The baking can't be done in a normal oven because of the very high temperatures needed. Contact a local arts and crafts association to find out where you can bake your models.
here, created for a Christmas creche
in the south of France, were dried in the open air. Paint and varnish also help stop the clay crumbling.
||The wall is made of individually made 'bricks'.|
Where can you buy clay?
The boar, thanks to its heavy-set form, is easy to model by hand.
||For the bridge and the well, the stones are drawn in with a fine blade.|
In craft outlets you can find different colors and kinds of clay. For larger quantities (for clubs etc), the best idea is to get it straight from tile-manufacturers. For smaller amounts, just to try it out or when working on small objects with the kids, you can buy just about everywhere little blocks of self-hardening clay. This material is however, less easy and not so pleasant to work with, but it's good for repairing objects in clay or salt dough.
Decorations in self-hardening clay
|These decorations were made using self-hardening clay. The letters are shaped and smoothed.The supporting base is created from wire from which individual strands were taken, coiled as in a spring, and then the letters fixed on top. Two letters are spray-painted gold, then all four letters are painted using a very fine brush, all in very festive colors!|
The makers of Christmas creches
often make nativity figures ready-to-paint. It really is great fun being able to decorate your own figures!Getting the painting, the gilding just right, using a very fine brush, and at the end of two hour's work (in my case, at least!) you have a beautiful figure to display and enjoy each Christmas.
A magnificent nativity creche, entirely made from clay by a master-mason from the town of Saint Chamas.
Just look at the tiles, formed one by one...
Thanks to Marie-Paule and Yves for this wonderful picture