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Lee U recently stated: sparked by my intention to make a clay toy for an event, how about a question about making clay toys? And for those  who have made them, pics please and some comments about their construction. 

 

I don't know as I have ever made anything that would be considered to be a clay toy, but then I have to think about it a bit, because I actually have made a few things that would be considered toys while I was teaching.  The first of these was small musical instruments, whistles, ocarinas and flutes. I started doing the whistles for my Ceramics classes as a smaller pinch pot project. I used a paper back book that described the process, and taught myself until I was able to not fail. I made 20 sets of tools to make them from chop sticks(first time I had used them for pottery tools), and started it as a project with my Ceramics 1's. Then I showed them to a Music teacher that taught Theory and Harmony(very tough music writing course). She thought her students would enjoy it at the end of the year, and there after every year we made them, experimenting over the years with decorated whistles, ocarinas and flutes.  Had fun.

 

Earlier, than this though, I had a student that brought in an old antique top point. The top had been made of ceramic, and had a metal point. Over the years the top had worn and cracked. The student wondered if we could make one to replace it. I cheated, as we used the wheel like lathe with the clay forming the outside, then digging out the inside when leather hard with the top held in a rubber sleeve on the GG. Fired, glazed, glaze fired,  and then epoxy puttied the metal point into the top. Kid through it on the composite floor in the hallway, after wrapping the string. Did fine. I saw him 10 years later, and he said his grandpa could still use it, and they would throw it at times when they got together. The kid was a Lt in the army at the time.

 

best,

Pres

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I am stuck a little on what counts as a toy.  Is a clay bulldog or clay hippo a toy? I have made those.

Another project that has long  interested me that I have not yet executed is "not paper dolls." Anyone who played with paper dolls knows how flimsy they are. One could make a flat clay figure directly for dressing. Alternatively, I have some glass bottles in my basement to be embellished as "outfits" and plan eventually to make actual character heads on dowels to change up among them.

Again not quite a toy, but do you know those zen gardens that typically consist of a pan of sand, a little rake, and a bunch of pebbles.? I have seen those with textured clay balls in place of pebbles. How does one finish a ball all over that doesn't disturb a kiln shelf, please?

For that matter, any game played with tokens could be made up with clay tokens- checkers, a game where one moves tokens forward, tic tac toe... 

I have long ago try to make a top out of clay. Most Jewish kids have tried that, probaly, inspired by the song:" I had a little dreidl, I made it out of clay..."

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Lets see, I do not think ceramic dog poop counts-I made some in collage with the high maganesse dark brown clay -its out in the yard still.

How about a truck with donut tires-and a SLA license plate from the early 70's?More political sculpture than a toy.

I do not think I have made a toy yet?

 

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Chess set, whistles, snakes, lizards,  dinosaur island and faux fossils  when my son was young.   We made musical instruments together when he was a teenager.    Denice

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I forgot about the zen garden,  my son got into zen gardens when he first moved away from home.  I made him a salt and pepper shaker set that looked like rocks he put them on a tray filled with large salt  and a bent fork for a rake.   He was studying to be a chef,  wanted to give his quest the ultimate dining experience.   Denice

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Clay toys
 
The ceramic I class has frequently required a ceramic toy (~90% ceramic) as one of the final assignments.  Students have made dolls, pinewood block derby type cars, checkers and chess sets of all sizes (one chess set used Raku pieces about 6-8 inches tall), jigsaw puzzles, dice, rattles, dominoes, blocks, and some other toys I don't remember.  Some were glazed, others were finished with acrylic paints, and some were left unglazed.  Many were just fired to bisque and then finished with paints and stains.  The assignment was especially challenging to the students that thought only traditional function ware was pottery. 
 
The Ceramics II class had a similar assignment, usually early in the semester, called the trompe l'oeil assignment, which in my mind is a sophisticated version of the toy assignment.
 
I had a classmate sometime back that worked with miniature cups, saucers, tea pots, bowls, bottles, etc. all less than 1 inch in size, all wheel thrown.  She sold them at festivals for dollhouse ware.  
 
I have made fortune cookies, apple popovers, dice, puzzles, tic-tat-toe boards and a bowl of grits; some were fired to only bisque, others fired to cone 10, with either oxide staining, burnished clay, or raw clay as surfaces.  The aesthetically successful ones were gobbled up at the club sales, the not-so ones become road rocks.  
 
I'll look around the storage cupboard and see if I have any pieces left for photos - don't hold your breath. 
 
Making toys requires an additional set of skills besides those of just manipulating clay.  Toys are expected to be "toyed with", not just become decorations on a desk or in a cabinet.  Therefore, the toy must also be functional and robust enough to be used as a toy.  The ceramic pinewood derby car required several tries before the student got the weight balanced and the wheels and axles aligned in three dimensions.  He learned a lot about making stuff from the assignment. 
 
LT

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