1. Understand the significance of gargoyles and their relationship to architecture, symbolism and art
2. Create a clay gargoyle with realistic and/or imaginary animal features.
3. Construct a clay sculpture using a variety of hand building techniques
4. Demonstrate skill and craftsmanship in working with clay and glazing.
5. Exhibit problem solving skills- plan and execute plan for animal with minimal assistance.
6. Write artist’s statements explaining their artistic decisions and creative processes.
"Legend has it that gargoyles ward off evil spirits - are any
protecting your castle and loved ones?"
Gargoyles & Grotesques
Originally a gargoyle was a water spout and directing
water away from a building so that the water would not
erode the mortar. Over time the word gargoyle became
the term used to describe any and all the fantastic
creatures on a cathedral or other building.
After the introduction of the lead drain in the16th century,
gargoyles primarily serve a decorative
purpose. This guy — on a church
in the South of France —is a true
gargoyle. One can see how the water
Would leave the building and travel
along the gargoyle and out the mouth.
Folklore held that gargoyles are good luck and
frightened away evil spirits — while serving its
practical function of carrying rain water away.
"One can think of wyverns (a two legged winged
dragon of medieval legend) as sort of 'holy pit
bulls,' whose job is to dispel the evil forces,
lightning, plague, war, and other calamities that
may threaten the cathedral and the city.
They are often
ready to spring
into space and
What You Do:
You are to create your own gargoyle designs.
You have to draw sketches of your creations,
then you have to hand sculpt your forms in
Jim Henson’s Muppets
Jim Henson used different ideas
to make each muppet character
Some characters are based on
animals, monsters, made-up
creatures, and even humans!
Working With Clay:
Clay artists throughout the ages have
invented many ways to shape things out of
PINCH - Use your fingers to pinch and poke
a single lump of clay into any shape.
SLAB - Roll the clay into flat sheets (like a
pie crust) to cut apart and assemble.
COIL - Roll out long snakes of clay and twist
them into coils and shapes.
WHEEL - Spin clay on a potter's wheel to
form pots and vases.
What To Do:
Clay is a wonderful sculpting material and
experiment w/a small piece of clay before you
begin your sculpture.
Different techniques to use: coils, slabs, pinch etc.
Build the clay up slowly using small bits and
adding more and more clay. Moisten the clay
when it starts to get a little dry.
Using your fingers, popsicle sticks, plastic forks
etc. details can be added like a nose, eyes, mouth
etc. (Did you include some of the following:
tongues sticking out, horns coming out of heads
and huge eyes! )
Studio TO DO:
1. Create 2 sketches/possibilities for your clay gargoyle/monster
2. Begin working with clay using different handbuilding
techniques to create your gargoyle
3. Build the body using two joined pinch pots or joined coils
4. Use slabs, pinched clay or coils for the arms/legs
5. Shape the face using your fingers & clay tools
6. Texture, Texture, Texture: wings, scales, fur, etc…
Some Tools to Use When
Working with Clay:
Rolling pins and canvas
Popsicle sticks and toothpicks
Various carving tools, nuts and bolts,
forks, old toothbrushes and anything
else you can get your hands on that will
create texture in the clay
Create a gargoyle= INSIDE must be
Use 1 piece of clay for the body.
Get a 2nd piece of clay for the head,
Make sure you SMOOTH the attached
pieces together. (Ex: if add horns – smooth
onto the body)