Spring “Eggplant”

This was the start of a new term of arts and crafts classes. This term I have only one group of artists (3 to 5 year olds).


Today we are preparing for spring (or Easter) celebrations by creating our own “eggplants” — not the purple plant that tastes so delicious roasted, but a plant of painted eggs.  Eggs have always been a symbol of the renewal of life that occurs at this time of year.

Materials

▪               salt dough (flour, salt and water — recipe below)

▪               small flower pots (plastic, peat or ceramic)

▪               grass

▪               bamboo skewers cut approximately in half (3 half pieces per artist)

▪               small foam eggs (three per artist)

▪               acrylic paint

▪               paint brushes

▪               palette

▪               water cup

▪               cloth

▪               plastic flower pots with hold in the bottom (optional)

Preparation

Make the salt dough:

▪               4 cups flour

▪               1 cup fine salt

▪               1 1/2 to 2 cups warm water

Combine the flour and the salt. Stream in the water. Mix until a ball forms. Knead for 5 to 15 minutes. I use my KitchenAid mixer to make and knead this dough.

The dough should be soft and smooth. It will keep in the refrigerator for a few days if tightly sealed in plastic.

Cut the skewers in half. For this group we only have one hour in class, so I also painted the skewers so they would be ready to use.

Optional: If you feel uncomfortable with the artists doing it themselves, poke a hole in the bottom of each egg with a pointy end of a skewer and glue the painted skewers into each egg shape.

Steps

Paint the eggs in decorative ways. You can paint a base coat of one colour on each egg and set it into the holes of an upturned plastic flower pot to dry. Then base coat the other two eggs. Try to use thin layers of paint to assure that the egg will dry enough to start decorating it.  Really young artists generally apply the paint thickly and most of these artists only had one layer. With the application of more than one colour however, some of the eggs were breathtaking in their combination of marbled colours.

Paint the flower pot: both the outside and top part of the inside. Set aside to dry.

(Optional) Return to the base coated eggs and start adding dots, stripes, or what ever you want to your eggs to decorate them. To do stripes around the egg, hold the paintbrush to the egg and use the skewer to twirl the egg around slowly, painting as you go. Do not move your painting hand, just slowly rotate the skewer.

Take a small chunk of salt dough and form it into a rough ball shape. Drop it into the flower pot and pat it down.

Pull a small quantity of grass from the package, again shape it into a rough ball shape and lay it over the salt dough.  Pat it into place.

Once your eggs are dry, push them into the salt dough through the grass. Holding the skewer, twist each “eggplant” and use a drilling action to push through the grass and into the salt dough. The salt dough will help the stems of your “eggplants” stand up. After a few days, the salt dough will dry and harden, really supporting those stems. Until then, try not to touch the stems too much to prevent the stems from moving around too much.

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