Every year I have the 5th grader create ceramic plaque relief. I give the students two classes to draw their design on a square piece of paper that is the same size as their clay. I give them options to choose from for their design such as an animal, landscape, space scene, architecture, etc. They can draw their design from their imagination or use an image to help them.
The class before we start working with clay, I will give a demonstration on the steps to creating their design on the clay slab. They are to use a square template to cut the shape out.
Next, they lay their square drawing on top of the clay and trace.
Then, they take pieces of clay and start attaching the pieces to areas of the design they want to raise off the flat surface. One thing I suggest to the kids is to raise the areas that are closes to the viewer. Meaning if there is a tree in back and a tree in front, raise the tree in front more than the tree in back.
After I fire all the clay, I spray paint the ceramic with flat black so that when the kids paint over it with acrylic they will end up with black lines and bold color.
One thing I have trouble with is keeping the plaques from curling while they dry. I am trying to figure out a solution and will post what I come up with.
Here are some of the final results. You can spray paint a clear gloss coat to help the art work look shiny and finished looking.