Kempenfelt Kelly


Estimated time to complete activity: 2 hrs + (clay dries in 2-3 days)
Ideal for ages 6 to 9

Following the guidance of artist Meaghan Paterson, participants will create their very own sea creature and underwater habitat inspired by Kempenfelt Kelly using non-firing clay, acrylic paint, pencil crayons and a little imagination. Please note: clay takes 2 to 3 days to dry.


Step one:

First begin by changing into clothes that are suitable for art making, and making sure you have a workspace that you can get messy. Next find one bag of clay. Take the larger piece of clay and work it into a ball by cupping it between your hands, as if you were making a snowball. You can also roll it between the table and your hand to help make it round. When you have made a ball, smooth the cracks and lumps out with your fingers.

Step two:

Next, begin to form the general shapes of your creature, like a head and body. You can do this by pinching a portion of the clay ball between your forefinger and thumb, squeezing slightly to create a ball for the head and a ball for the body that are connected by a slightly thinner amount of clay. One ball will be the head of the sea creature and the other will be the body. Use this technique again to create a tail.

Now go back to your general head, body and tail shapes to make them more detailed: add a nose, horns, a mouth and eyes to the head. Add some features to the tail. Do this by pinching and pulling slightly with your fingers.

Tap the bottom of your creature against the table to give it a flat base to rest on.

Step Three:

Find your other piece of clay, toothpicks and dish of water. Using the rest of the clay, you can form flippers, arms, legs and extra pieces for your sea creature. When doing this, make sure nothing you add sticks out from the body further than a pinky finger in length, and also make sure that your add-ons are at least as thick as your thumb.

When attaching things, make sure to mark the surface of your clay with a toothpick (on both the addition and the body of the sea creature), add a bit of water to one side, squish them together firmly and then smooth the creases together. This will help hold the new addition of clay onto the body firmly. For detailed instructions on this process, see the instructional video at time 5:46.

Step Four:

Using a toothpick, draw smaller details onto your creature like scales, nose holes, a smile, fur, spots and anything else you want.

Step Five:

Put your creature in a safe place to dry. This may take 2 to 3 days. When it’s completely dry, you will notice the colour is lighter and the surface is smooth and firm.

Step Six:

Gather your watercolour paper and pencil crayons. Now you have time to draw a background scene that shows your sea creature’s habitat. Think about where they live and sleep, what they eat, and what they do for fun. Also, think about other sea creatures that they might see every day, like fish, crabs and more. When you’re done drawing, fold your drawing in half to make a crease. Unfold it, and it’s ready to stand up behind your sea creature as a background.

Step Seven:

Once your clay is completely dry, you can begin painting your sea creature. It is recommended that you paint a base coat of one colour onto the clay first. Cover the entire clay creature. Let this dry completely before moving onto the next step.

Step Eight:

Once dry, you can go back with more paint to add details, like spots, texture, scales and more. As a final touch, place your dry sea creature in front of your drawn backdrop.

Post your creations on Twitter and Instagram, use the hashtag #MacLarenArtCentre and mention us @MacLarenArt so we can share all your creative work!

Explore the world of wildlife conservation through FREE activities inspired by Mary Anne Barkhouse’s virtual residency Ark/ive. Visit the virtual platform for details: #ExploreArkive

Load More...