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Lesson 5: Abstract Clay Sculptures


We will make an abstract sculpture by combining clay shapes. Students will be able to use their hands to manipulate clay. They will roll and tap, make coils, and attach pieces of clay together.

Grade Level



Drawing, Clay, Sculpture

  • Unit & Lessons


  • Clay
  • Foam trays
  • Damp sponges
  • Plastic forks
  • Resource: clay sculptures by John Balistreri


Step 1

Revisit what students did with clay tiles and textures.

Step 2

Demonstrate making different shapes with clay.

Step 3

Show how to score and smooth shapes to attach them together.

Step 4

Have students make clay shapes.

Step 5

Explore different ways to arrange and attach them.

Step 6

Have students look at their sculpture from different angles, considering both the inside and outside.


  • Can you describe one shape you created with clay and how you made it?
  • How did you decide to arrange your clay shapes to make your sculpture?
  • What did you notice when you looked at your sculpture from different angles?


Sculpture, roll, tap, coil, score, smooth


John Balistreri, Signal, 2014, stoneware, colored slip, glaze