Teacher: Leigh Kermizian

Title: Head Sculptures

Grade Level: 3rd

Brief History: African figures may be simplified, but careful attention is paid to details, including ornamentation and color. Supernatural beings may have overemphasized features. Enlarged eyes, noses and mouths so that spirits may enter. Decoration includes geometric patterns and a sense or harmony and rhythm.


9.1 Production, Performance and Exhibition of dance, music, theatre and visual arts

9.2 Historical and Cultural Contexts

9.4 Aesthetic Response

Goals: Create a head sculpture influenced by African art


Discuss the overemphasis of features in African art

Create a head sculpture

Requirements: Create a head sculpture inspired by African art using clay. Use repetition, pattern and rhythm to decorate sculpture.

Resources/Visual Aids:





Tools for carving (toothpicks, paperclips)

Tongue depressor

Water bowl (unless the clay is model magic)

Beads (other decorative objects)

Teacher Prep:

Have supplies ready to distribute



Discuss African head sculptures

Review placement of facial features


Roll clay into a ball

Hollow out the ball with a tongue depressor (or press into a flat circle)

Press two eye indentations into the clay with your thumb

Sculpt nose using a paper clip, or use extra clay

Shape the mouth area to form lips or open mouth

Smooth sculpture with water (unless using model magic)

Use extra clay for ears or hair

Use a toothpick for decorative designs

If firing in a kiln, add beads and other decorations after firing.


Teacher will walk around evaluating students work.

If time permits, students can share work at end of class.


Students will draw on their placemats.

Time budget:

Intro:10 minutes

Work time: 30 minutes

Clean up: 5 minutes


Realism: Representing an object accurately

Abstract: Non Representational art that focuses on the use of line, color, and forms.

Slab: A pottery technique in which a form is built by joining shapes cut from think sheets of damp clay

Coil: Long snake like ropes of clay that are used in pottery making.

Pinch Pot: Made by pressing the thumb into a ball of clay, and drawing the clay out into a pot by repeatedly squeezing the clay between the thumb and fingers.

Safety Concerns: None


Multicultural Art Activities

photo 4 (1)


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