Your Junior Girl Scout will learn many new things and create some wonderful projects while completing the requirements for the “Ceramics and Clay” Junior badge. To earn this patch, your Girl Scout must complete at least six of the following ten activities.
Techniques with Clay
There are several different clay building techniques that professionals use like: pinch pots, wheel thrown pieces, slab work, and modeling or sculpting clay. Your Junior should work with someone knowledgeable to practice two of these methods and create at least one finished piece of artwork. There is a diagram of how to make a pinch pot on page 140 of the "Junior Girl Scout Badgebook."
This next activity focuses on using the coil method of making pottery to create either a cup or container. Your Junior will simply rub her clay between her hands until it is a long coil and then shape it as desired. The layers of coil should be joined and smoothed.
Your Juniors may choose to learn more about the proper way to handle clay. To complete this requirement, your Junior must know how to do the following tasks.
1. She must understand how to wedge clay so it will not explode while in the kiln.
2. She should know how to properly store moist, unused clay and also reclaim clay that has been used, but is unfired.
3. How to store clay that is still being worked on should be understood.
4. Lastly, she should know how to join two pieces of clay that are moist by the slip and score method.
Your Juniors will have a lot of fun creating their own tiles from squares of clay. They will decorate their clay in one of the following ways: using patterns, stamps, graffito (scratching the clay), filigree, burnishing, modeling, or carving. If possible, the Juniors should visit a museum that has a display of ceramics and clay pieces from other countries and cultures.
For this activity, your Junior will either visit a pottery studio or have a professional potter or ceramist come to a troop meeting. The Junior should ask this professional about her craft and also find out about the kiln which is the oven used to harden clay.
This next activity will focus on decorating bisqueware which is fired, but unglazed ceramic clay. Your Juniors should find out how an underglaze, glaze, and overglaze will affect a piece of ceramic. In addition, she should learn what color they will be when dry and if they will be shiny or opaque. There are several different glazing techniques like sponge, dip, or paint and your Juniors should experiment with each one. The next step is to actually glaze a piece, making sure to follow all directions so the piece will not stick to the kiln and the lid will not stick to the bottom. If this piece is intended for use with food, your Junior should make sure that all materials used are food safe and also that the inside of the piece is glazed.
Your Juniors will now have the opportunity to learn about bas-relief which is a sculpture that sticks out from a flat surface. The first step is to pour plaster onto any flat surface like a cookie sheet. Once the plaster has hardened, it should be removed from the cookie sheet before a design is carved into the plaster. Next, a slab of clay should be rolled onto the plaster, making sure that the clay goes into the carved design. Once the clay has dried, it can be removed from the plaster and painted as desired with acrylic paints.
For this next activity, your Junior should visit a store with her family or troop to look at modern pieces of pottery and ceramics. She should think about which pieces she likes best and would want to use when decorating her own home in the future.
Your Juniors can meet this requirement simply by teaching a younger friend or Girl Scout how to make pottery. She should be sure to share the results with others.
Folk Sculptures and Pottery
The last activity that your Juniors may choose to complete is to find two or three examples of folk pottery or sculpture that they can find online, at a museum, or in a magazine. They should make sure to look at pieces from different countries and cultures. Next, your Juniors should think about how these pieces are different from each other. If possible, the girls should obtain pictures and label accordingly with dates, titles, and where each piece is from.
Your Girl Scout will create wonderful works of art and will learn new things while earning her “Ceramics and Clay” Junior badge.
"Ceramics and Clay." Junior Girl Scouts Badgebook. New York: Girl Scouts of the USA, 2001. 140-141. Print.