|Effigy Head Pot (mid - 14th - 15th century) from the St. Louis Art Museum.|
Type of Lesson Plan: Object-based Lesson Plan
Topic: Effigy Pots
- Students will develop sculpting skills necessary to creating a three-dimensional medium.
- Students will learn about pottery techniques and designs from Meso-American cultures.
- Students will be able to produce a 3-dimensional pot using both sculpted clay and paper pulp within the same artwork.
- Students will be able to compare and contrast a variety of pottery images from two or three different cultures of people after viewing the effigy power point.
- Students will be able to describe “how” effigy pots reflect the cultures of those artists who created them.
Missouri Show-Me Standards: FA 5, FA 4, FA 1
Strand V: Historical and Cultural Contexts – Prepare and contrast artworks from different historical time periods and/or cultures
A. Grade 6 – Identify works from Pre-Columbian Americas
A. Grade 8 – Identify works of art from Native American
Strand IV: Interdisciplinary Connections – Explain the connections between Visual Art and Communication Arts and Social Studies
A. Grade 6 - Explain how American artworks reflect the cultures in which they were created
Strand I: Product/Performance – Select and apply three-dimensional media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas and solve challenging visual art problems
A. Grade 7 – Create an in-the-round artwork by joining two or more surfaces using a layering material
Grade Level Targeted: Middle School (7-9)
Number of Class Periods: four or five 55 minute class periods
Facility & Equipment Requirements:
- The teacher will need a kiln or an oven depending upon the type of clay the students will be working with
- A variety of covered baking sheets to transport clay and fire it
- A computer for viewing the power point presentation on effigy pots
Resources needed for teaching lesson:
- “Effigy” power point
- Teacher sample projects
- Woodworking glue in specific
Materials Per Student:
- A variety of tools used to mark/manipulate the clay
- A small amount of low-fire or even oven bake clay about the size of the student’s fist
- A small recycled bottle made of glass or heavy plastic, preferably with a handle
- A roll of masking tape
- 2 cups of paper pulp clay, prepared in advance
- Effigy Pot– An effigy pot is a sculpted, three-dimensional vessel representing either a person, animal, or god. Effigy pots may or may not have religious purposes depending upon the beliefs of the artist/culture in which the vessel originated.
- Low-fire Clay – Low-fire clay is heated between 1700-2000 degrees before it matures. It does not often shrink, is soft to work with, is less durable and it will absorb liquids.
- High-fire Clay – This clay, porcelain or stoneware, matures at temperature above 2000 degrees, is rigid, more difficult to work with, and is also very durable.
- Sculpt – To sculpt, is to shape any medium into a new form.
- Mesoamericans – These are the ancient peoples of North and South America. This group includes the Olmec, Teotihuacan, Astec and Mayan cultures of people as well as any other ancient peoples who once occupied any part of the American continents prior to the 16th century.
- Native American - These people are the indigenous peoples of North America who have occupied the North American continent for thousands of generations. Some of these natives were at one time descendants of Mesoamericans, others may have ancestors who crossed the Bering Strait that joined Siberia to Alaska. Native Americans have lived in the Americas prior to it’s discovery/settlement by European explorers in the late 1400s.
- Seed Pot – Seed pots are clay vessels fashioned by Native Americans to store seed safely for later use in planting. These pots are usually fashioned after a beast or have a animal/insect depicted on the surface of the pot. of some Seed pots have tiny openings at the top of the pot in order to keep seed from exposure to the elements, in a dark, dry place, and from spilling easily. The natives did indeed insert one seed at a time through the tiny opening as these were harvested from their plants.
- Press Mold – A press mold has only one side and it is used to replicate a three-dimensional image in clay.
- Pierce – To pierce the clay is to stab into it with a dowel or sharp object in order to create a tiny opening.
- Symbols – Symbols in clay are marks, illustrations, or sculpted areas that are associated or resemble something or someone else other than the clay itself.
Step-by-step activity: First I will share a power point (slide show) with my students before actively demonstrating the following art assignment. During this presentation the students will be asked to share their reactions and I will also teach them the vocabulary terms.
- Make certain the bottles are clean and dry before beginning this project.
- Cover with a single layer, the entire outside of the bottle with masking tape. Then set the bottle aside for later use.
- Sculpt from the clay the facial features that you would like to apply to the bottle.
- The instructor will place the completed faces on a cookie sheet and bake these in the oven or kiln depending upon which clay he has chosen for the project.
- On the second day, students will then glue the clay features to the surface of their bottle with wood glue and apply the paper pulp mache to the surface surrounding the mask.
- Students will then watch a power point presentation and return on the following day to finish applying the rest of the pulp to the outside of the bottle.
- The bottles must then dry again over night and on the third day, students may attach a felt piece to the bottom of their bottles to keep surfaces from being scratched by their artwork.
- Wood putty may then be pressed into any crevices the student desires to fill and then it must be sanded before painting.
- On the fourth day, students may sand out any imperfections and paint their bottles with fast drying acrylic paints.
- Then a acrylic sealer may be applied by the students with a large soft brush.
Cleanup Time & Strategy: Cleanup time allotted 5 minutes
Assessment: I will be using an informal assessment and will also take notes during the completion of the projects. The grades will be posted online for the students and their parents to view at a private rubrics site hosted by their school district. Below is a list of criteria that I will be looking for while assessing the student's grades on this particular project:
- The student successfully sculpted a face out of clay materials and formed it to fit a curved surface properly.
- The student applied paper pulp evenly across a curved surface, filled it with wood putty afterwards and sanded it down to create a smooth texture.
- The student painted and sealed their effigy pot efficiently.
- The student demonstrated his knowledge of the vocabulary discussed during the power point presentation by conversing actively with the instructor and his peers when asked to.
- The student turned their assignment in on time.
|Start with a glass jar or bottle.|
|With masking tape and crushed newspapers,|
shape and tape the effigy around the bottle
|Glue the clay features on top of the masking tape as well.|
|Make sure you look at your effigy|
from many different angles in order to
determine the proportions of your creature.
|Make sure to add tape to the bottom of the bottle as well.|
You will need to glue a piece of felt to the bottom to prevent scratches!
|I have added a thin even layer of|
pulp to the entire effigy pot.
This will be put in the sunshine and allowed
to harden over night, before I paint the surface.
More lesson plans about effigy pots:
- Prehistoric Native American Lesson Plan
- Ceramic Effigy Vessels
- Ceramics Lesson from Circle Round the Square
All lessons and teacher examples copyrighted by Grimm, 2010
The top photograph is by the Saint Louis Art Museum, used by permission.
The top photograph is by the Saint Louis Art Museum, used by permission.
|"America's Ancient Cities" published by National Geographic|
Society in 1988 contains articles about:
The Eastern Woodlands, The Plains and the Northwest,
The Southwest, and A Golden Age in Mesoamerica.
Do you need to incorporate literacy with your art assignments? I keep many volumes in my library for this very purpose. I recommend "America's Ancient Cities" for this particular assignment. These articles published by National Geographic are excellent resource material to teach 7th - 12th grade cultural studies.