Sculpting with Claytoons

Most days I feel like I have the best job in the world (and this is especially true after my morning coffee). While I’ve chosen to be SAHM, there’s still a busy worker bee inside of me who has trouble not working, and I consequently have trouble saying no to exciting opportunities that coincide with my creative values. Squeezing work into the small cracks of free time isn’t always easy, but striking the right work/family balance is something that I’m always striving toward.

This is a long way of saying that I recently started working with a group of talented educators and designers to create an art curriculum for a DIY art zone at Zeum: San Francisco’s Children’s Museum. After one of our meetings I discovered Zeum’s gift shop (what a lot of fun!) where I found a box of Claytoons sculpting clay — the stuff that Zeum uses for all their stop motion animation projects — and it made for the perfect gift for my little sculptor.

The challenge for my 3 year old is that it’s much stiffer than play dough, but the flip side is that it holds its shape better and can therefore stand upright without wobbling over. You can also add armatures (wire threaded through the clay) to it for further support.

We practiced rolling ball and tubes, and worked on strategies for attaching pieces together. One of the best things about Claytoons is that it’s oil based and it won’t dry out! So go ahead and leave it out on the table for a few days and it’ll still be in tip-top shape (which is much more than you can say for play dough!).


My daughter’s representational drawings are far from recognizable as objects, but with the clay I could tell immediately that this was a person. Amazing! Not that it matters, really, if she makes something that I can recognize, but through this observation I could see how rewarding this experience must be for her — to articulate an idea with clay that couldn’t be articulated with pen and paper. If your child is in the same boat, sculpting may be for you too!

Comments

  1. Justin Birch says

    Sorry to leave an unrelated comment, but I couldn’t find any contact information for you.

    I was hoping to find out if you accept guest posts. I had an idea for one that I think would be a good fit. You can reach me at justbirch81 [at] gmail.com if you’re interested. Thanks!

  2. Becca Willard says

    I’ll have to look for Claytoons now, thanks! Oh, and although I haven’t been since my honeymoon, I kinda want to move to San Francisco after reading your blog for a while. :) And congrats on the great opportunity, that will be an amazing curriculum, I’m sure!

    • rachelle says

      We live about 40 miles south of the city and I want to move to San Francisco too, Becca! :) What a fabulous place to Honeymoon. Thanks for the nice comment.

  3. says

    SO cute, and I totally agree about the creative burning desire within sometimes! Most of the time I absolutely adore being at home, but there are days when I’m twitching to do something else while I’m here. Sounds like you have landed a great opportunity!
    I’m wondering if this substance is the same as what we in the UK call plasticine? (not sure if you have that there?) Sounds very similar. It’s great for sculpting but needs to be so warm first to be malleable enough for little fingers.

    • rachelle says

      It’s a funny push and pull, Anna — I think I’m made for the work of being with my kids. I’m actually pretty good at it, but I spent most of my life working and it’s hard to shift gears mid-stream. As for the clay, it’s really similar to plasitcine. It may actually be the same and you’re making me wish I had some plasticine on hand to do a comparison. I don’t think the Claytoons needs to be warmed up before using it, but maybe since it’s summer the air is warm enough to use it out of the bag?