by Elizabeth Wehman, editor

ART STUDENTS Fletcher Johnson and Hailie Hall are putting the finishing touches on their beaver which will be on display at the Shiawassee Arts Center grounds this coming summer. Paint often changes colors as the clay objects are put into the ovens to solidify as students learn as they watch the process take place.

Finishing up a few months of art classes, at the Shiawassee Arts Center, are some students from Owosso and Corunna Middle Schools as well as Corunna Emmanuel Baptist School. Beginning in March through May, Instructor Linda Ruehle has offered the students a chance to participate in creating ‘critters in clay.’ Ruehle as well as members of the Owosso Kiwanis are on hand to help students learn more about the animals and wildlife they might find around the Shiawassee River area and shores.

“I love this type of project with the students. We try hard to not only teach art here, but also elements of science by researching the animals and finding what ‘critters’ actually live along our river,” commented Ruehle. The preteens meet downstairs at the Shiawassee Arts Center two days a week to learn and craft the animals and wildlife from clay. Each ‘critter’ takes on a unique and interesting bent as the students mold and carve specific features into their presentations.

Each critter will be on display during the summer, beginning with Curwood Days. Plans are to make them a part of the landscaping around the Arts Center. Some will be outfitted with a pole which will secure them to the ground.

Once the critter is molded, shaped and sculpted in the form of a duck, owl, fish, or even a beaver, the creation is put into oven kilns at temperatures of 1800 to 2200 degrees for anywhere between seven to nine hours. The following day is a cool down day. Students can research the parts and features of their animal or perhaps learn how they adapt themselves to their environment, but they can also see their creature almost ‘come to life’ as they are painted and then solidified by the firing process.

Don’t hesitate to stop by the Arts Center this summer, on a walk through the park, to see the ‘critters’ up close and personal.

Teaching Science and Art with River Critters was last modified: May 4th, 2016 by Karen Elford