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Products Used

  • Low Fire White Clay Body
  • FN-002 Yellow, FN-003 Orange, FN-004 Red, FN-007 Green, FN-008 Brown, FN-017 Purple, FN-018 Bright Blue, SC-16 CottonTail)

Decorating Accessories

  • CB-604 #4 Soft Fan, AB-834 3/4" Base Coat

Miscellaneous Supplies

  • Needle Tool, Slip, 1/4' Wooden Slats, Canvas, Rolling Pin, Hole Cutter, Shoe Laces
  • Download: Pattern


295.Das Boot
Title: Clay Shoe (Boot) 
Techniques: Slab/Hand-building, Glaze Application
Featuring: Xiem Tools, Stroke & Coats
Course Length: 1-2 weeks (allow for dry time and firing)
Level: Advanced 9-12
Artist: Carmen Allen
Lesson Plan by: Hannah Clark

Lesson Plan:

Art (Ceramics) + Literature (American)


In To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus explains to Scout "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view...until you climb into his skin and walk around in it" (36). In this lesson, students will be invited to imagine spending a day in “someone else's shoes”. Through provided images and writings, students can examine a variety of shoes and envision what the owner would look like, such as their appearance, actions, occupation, etc. By reading exerts from books like To Kill A Mockingbird, students will be able to express the life they live, or create a sense of empathy by influence of another. They will create a clay shoe of their own; by sculpting unique forms and details that embody the essence of them, or the person they are trying to create.  


  • Students will explore different perspectives of others through images of shoes; using the idiom of “walking a mile in someone else’s shoes”.
  • Students will interpret their own empathy through writings and whole-class discussions.
  • Students will take their knowledge gained from reading literature and imagery, to create their own ceramic shoe representing a life they have studied.

National Standards (9-12)

  • VA:Cr1.2.Ia: Shape an artistic investigation of an aspect of present- day life using a contemporary practice of art or design.
  • VA:Cr1.2.IIIa: Choose from a range of materials and methods of traditional and contemporary artistic practices, following or breaking established conventions, to plan the making of multiple works of art and design based on a theme, idea, or concept.
  • VA:Cr2.1.IIa: Through experimentation, practice, and persistence, demonstrate acquisition of skills and knowledge.



  1. For the right depth of clay, lay out canvas fabric on table and place 1/4" slats on the left and right side of the canvas fabric.  Place a piece of moist clay about 2 lbs. in size in the middle of the fabric. Using a rolling pin, roll out the clay to the size desired. The slats are used as a guide to keep your clay level and at the same evenness. Make sure the edges of the rolling pin hit the 1/4" slats.
  2. Using a needle tool cut the shapes as they are on the pattern.
  3. Wrap the two larger pieces of clay around a cylinder. Be sure to wrap paper around the cylinder to avoid having the clay stick to the form. Slip and score the slabs to attach on the back seam of the boot. Let set to firm a bit.
  4. Drape the front section of the boot over a smaller cylinder; slip and score the toe so it is closed.
  5. Take the pieces intended for the bottom of the sole, set them on some canvas, and step on them. Be careful not to step too hard, but just enough to put the texture from the bottom of our shoe onto the piece!
  6. Construct the heel of the boot and attach it to the sole. Then attach this to the front section of the boot.
  7. Once the top section is firm enough to support itself attach it to the rest of the boot.
  8. Next, fit the tongue inside the boot and attach by slipping and scoring at the base and sides. Smooth the front seam with your finger or sponge. Be sure to leave about ¼” of the side pieces in front of the tongue so you can cut out the holes for the laces.
  9. Using a hole cutter cut out the holes for the shoe laces.
  10. Use various sculpting tools to create and small details or texture that you would like the shoe to have.
  11. Let piece slow-dry and once it is in it’s greenware state fire to shelf cone 04.


  1. Begin with properly fired cone 04 bisque. Moisten a clean sponge and wipe bisque to remove any dust.
  2. Place some FN-008 Brown into a small cup and add a little bit of water to slightly dilute it (about 3 parts glaze and 1 part water).  It should be the consistency of a coffee cream.  Pour this into the shoe and roll around to completely coat the interior of the shoe.  Drain out the excess glaze and keep the piece inverted until it has lost its shine. Wipe off any glaze from the outside using a damp sponge. Allow to dry.
  3. Using a CB-604 #4 Soft Fan, apply 2 coats of FN-008 Brown to the entire outside of the boot.
  4. Once dry, use an AB-834 ¾” Base Coat to dry brush SC-16 Cotton Tail onto the outside of the boot.
  5. Using a CB-604 #4 Soft Fan, apply random brushstrokes of the following Foundation glazes: FN-002 Yellow, FN-003 Orange, FN-004 Red, FN-007 Green, FN-017 Purple, and FN-018 Bright Blue. For the lighter colors you may want to apply to coats to each stroke. Keep in mind the way the light may hit the boot; keeping the deeper colors around areas where there would be shading and the lighter colors around areas that would have highlights.
  6. Let dry completely.
  7. Stilt and fire to shelf cone 06/05.

Once fired lace the boot with the shoelaces.

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