The self portrait in clay might be a little much for those who get discouraged easily. I remember the first project we did in high school, we each brought in a card board carton and cut up slabs and built the pieces inside the carton and then tore the carton off when the clay set up. My first one was a small oatmeal carton and I found a oval hat box for my second one, the students like it so well that we did two. Both of my carton pieces won state awards so you can get acceptable pieces from that technique.
So, you put the slabs inside the milk carton & oatmeal container, let them dry leather hard and then peeled the container off. Did you then smooth the outside and add texture etc to the outside?
We would just clean them up, a little fill any voids that seem like they would cause a problem. The melding of the pieces together pushing against the outer carton created nice soft areas and they really didn't need much. I think the trick is to make sure the clay is moist enough that it can be smoothed easily as it's being pushed together. If they want to roll out coils, cut out geometric pattern, or lay out a pattern before they start have them cover them with plastic so the clay doesn't dry out. Denice
I will definetly try this one too, it sounds fun. We ususally will build without a support like that, we just let the clay stiffen up a bit but the kids would really appreciat this, especially adding some coils inside.