Friday, November 9, 2012

Georgia O'Keeffe Flower Bowls

I still vividly remember the Georgia O'Keeffe show I went to at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC in 1988. I remember it so profoundly because O'Keeffe was someone who's paintings I had admired for years but had never seen in real life. They were always so big, grand, and bold to me that I imagined they would be the same when I saw them in person. Taken back by their demure size and the intimacy that came with some of her smaller pieces, the memory remains with me.

Although she is not the first woman artist I think of these days when I begin lesson planning I still find myself teaching about her life and work on occasion. As I began to plan for clay lessons with my 4th graders I decided to use her flower paintings as our inspiration.

Wow! Wow! Wow! I had no idea how fabulous they would come out and how much my students would enjoy making them. Our standards require us to teach many parts of hand building with the 4th graders so they used pinch, coil, bonding techniques and surface techniques to create these masterpieces!

Here is a brief tutorial on how we made them!

Roll a slab (I use PVC pipe that I cut up - cheap!)

Pick from an assortment of round bowls to create a slump mold.

Cut around your mold.

Place your slab in your mold and gently let it slump!

Start subracting and adding to create the details of your flower bowl.

Don't forget to score, slip, and bond!

Keep going until you get a form that you are happy with.


  1. Great tutorial! I would love to try this. Thanks!

    1. Send me some pics if you do - I would love to see how they come out.

  2. These are so great! Do you think it is too difficult for 3rd graders?
    I was thinking I might try with 3rd and 4th, but do not want them to be too frustrated.

    1. Hi Julie!

      I do not think these are too hard for my 3rd graders but they would be great for 4th too. In the county I work for we have have clay skills that build on each other every year so by the time they are in 3rd grade they are ready. I would love to see how yours come out when they are done. - Jenn

  3. These are lovely. Do you fire these or is it air dry clay?

  4. Thank you Michelle! These are made with white raku clay and fired with a traditional glaze.

  5. I don't have access to a kiln. Can I do this with air dry clay?


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