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Decorative Arts: Lesson Two-Timeline

Suggested Timeline

Day 1: Introduce content, look at the documentary, This Old Movie Palace, present student challenge, begin sketching

Day 2: Continue sketching

Day 3: Transfer finished design to drawing paper

Day 4: Add color to completed design

Day 5: Present completed design for group critique


Clay is one of the most versatile mediums an architectural designer can use. Buildings have been constructed from clay using adobe and brick techniques. Clay is created to make tile ornamentation, fountains and murals. Designers of the Fox Theatre used decorative tiles throughout the interior spaces. It is a challenge to maintain the building interior and exterior. Art conservators use their artistry and technical knowledge to preserve this historic building.


An addition has been added to enlarge the women's lounge on the lower level. As a ceramic artist specializing in restoration tiles, you have been hired to design and construct a decorative tile using Egyptian symbols. The tile must include at least one large Egyptian symbol and one geometric shape on each side of the square so that when placed side-by-side, the tile creates a repeating motif. Each tile must be no smaller than 4x4 inches and no larger than 8x8 inches. A sample of your clay tile designs will be submitted to the art conservator at the Fox Theatre for final approval.

Suggested Procedures for Tessellation Design:

Demonstrate rolling the clay, using a rolling pin, bottle or slab roller(

Roll or press clay into a smooth 3/4-inch slab. Measure and cut two 5 x 7-inches.

Review the scratch and slip technique, to keep pieces of clay from falling off.

Add texture to the tile using these or other creative modeling techniques:

Press textured surfaces use modeling tools (plastic dinnerware, craft sticks, household utensils) to make indentations or patterns on the surface.

Roll coils to make raised parts of tile design. Attach pieces firmly to the base.

Pinch or pull details out of the base or additional modeling material. Score the compound or make cross hatches with a plastic fork, toothpick, or other modeling tools. Use plastic straws, chop sticks, or textured items to cut away or press in surface details.