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Products Used

Clay

5 lbs of low-fire clay body (Cone 06/05)

Color 

SC-6 Sunkissed, SC-9 Jaded, SC-11 Blue Yonder, SC-36 Irish Luck, SC-87 Ruby Slippers, SC-83 Tip Taupe, S-2101 Crystal Clear Brushing

Design Tools

BT-910 - Synthetic Sponge, CD-1078 - Design Press Tools, CB-106 #6 Script Liner

 

Additional Materials
Pencil, Paper Towels, Palette, Textured Lace, ¼” Wooden Slats, Canvas, Rolling Pins, Fettling Knife, and Needle Tool
 
Hamsa Hand

Description

For grade levels 5-8

“Hamsa” literally meaning “five” in Arabic. The word “Hamsa” originated as a root word in the Semitic languages of the Middle East. It is also spelled Hamesh, Chamsa, and Khamsa.

A hamsa is a charm, amulet or symbol used by people of Islamic, Jewish and Egyptian faiths. The Hamsa hand has always been associated with a female entity offering protection from evil and misfortune.  It is widely thought of to ward off the evil eye and offer protection from the hand of God. The hamsa looks like a hand with three fingers pointing upward and the thumb and pinky pointing outward. The palm of the hand is commonly covered with an eye.

There are two main styles of the hamsa hand: the stylized hamsa hand with two symmetrical thumbs, and hamsa hands that are not symmetrical and shaped like actual hands. Either hamsa can be displayed with the fingers pointing up or down. Both are believed to offer its owner happiness, peace and prosperity.

Objectives

  • Students will learn the steps of creating with clay including construction, bisque firing, glazing, and glaze firing

  • Students will configure a hand using slab, coil, texture tools, and glaze to create your own personal Hamsa amulet

  • Students will determine the color combination to simulate amulets of this nature in society today and incorporate the diverse symbolism of the cultures that use these emblems

National Standards

  • Understanding and Applying Media, Techniques, and Processes
  • Using Knowledge of Structures and Functions
  • Choosing and Evaluating a Range of Subject Matter, Symbols, and Ideas

Instructions

Construction Technique:
  1. Using the rolling pin and two wooden slats, one on the left side and one on the right side, to roll out the clay into ¼” thickness onto the canvas.
  2. Trace hand or use pattern.
  3. Lay the lace over the center of the hand and roll or press the rolling pin over the lace to create the lace pattern texture on the clay.
  4. Using the fettling knife or needle tool cut out and remove the excess clay.
  5. Roll out a long coil to be added to the outside edge of the hand. Slip and score this coil into place.
  6. Roll out a thinner coil to be used for the eye outline in the palm area of the hand
  7. Add a flat eye to your hand and press in some texture using one of the six texture tools from the mold CD-1078.
  8. Add texture to the finger area of the clay using the same texture tools.
  9. Add a coil to the top of the palm area to use for hanging your amulet.
  10. Bisque fire to cone 05/04.
Glazing Directions:
  1. While color is still wet, use a clean paper towel and lightly press down on the wet Stroke & Coat to take some color off the raised areas of the hand. This will give it an antique look.
  2. Water down the SC-83 Tip Taupe and apply one coat to the entire hand to give it a “faux tea stain” look.
  3. Let completely dry and fire to a witness cone 04.
  4. Clear glaze with S-2101 Crystal Clear Brushing and glaze fire to a cone 06.

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