Ceramics Lesson: Gargoyles & Grotesques

One of my students favorite lessons is ceramic gargoyles. One year I even had a fifth grade teacher ask if she could come in and make one of her own while her students were at art! I have seen these done as fully freestanding sculptures, but when I learned how to deliver this lesson it was sculpted as a high relief gargoyle tile, which is how I have continued to teach it over the years. Students are presented with information about gargoyles and grotesques in architecture. They are fascinated to learn that there is a Darth Vader gargoyle on the National Cathedral in Washington, DC that was designed by a child their age. Once we have reviewed gargoyles and grotesques from a variety of cultures and time periods, students develop multiple sketches that incorporate animal features, exaggerated facial expressions, and cultural references to create an original gargoyle design. Students usually sculpt their small gargoyle sculpture in one class period, then we glaze them using Crystaltex glazes to create glossy, mottled sculptures. I don’t have any photos of our finished gargoyles after they were glazed, but here are a few that show the gargoyles after bisque firing.

IMG_2489IMG_2492My personal favorites are the one with the eye patch (center row far right) and the one on the bottom row far right reminds me of one of the door knockers from Labyrinth.

2 thoughts on “Ceramics Lesson: Gargoyles & Grotesques

  1. Pingback: Ceramics Management Tip: Glaze Storage & Distribution | WonderBrooks

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