May 15


The Heide Museum of Modern Art in Heidelberg, Victoria is currently running a clay challenge.

You need to use clay,

grade 1 clay 65

grade 1 clay 65

or plasticine, or playdoh and make an artwork inspired by one of the clay pieces from the Heide Collection.

John Perceval bowl with handle 1948

You photograph your work and then email it to Heide.


Merric Boyd bowl 1950


The link below will take you to the page on their website which has photos of their claywork to inspire you.


John Perceval goblets

There is a category for under 18 claywork entries and over 18 claywork entries.


Melindas Harper stoneware vessel 2007

I think the challenge only goes until the end of May so you will have to check the details for dates on their website.


Stephen Benwell vase 1991


Good luck with your entry!


melinda Hrper ceramic 6 2005


Mirka Mora untitled plate 1967


May 14



Your sunflowers final artwork is due on Monday 24th May 2020!

You must submit all your artworks (rough draft 4 sunflowers/rough draft vase of sunflowers/final artwork vase of sunflowers) or your report for Semester 1 will state NEEDS ATTENTION in the Visual Arts section.

Hello to all my Grade 3 students from Cambridge Primary School and whoever else might be reading this post.

avatar Shelley Menhennet

I can’t believe it is Week 6 of remote learning already!

We are going to be doing a bit of Visual Arts learning around the topic of Vincent Van Gogh’s sunflowers in ART!

So, in Week 3 you drew a rough draft of four different sunflowers.

If you didn’t do this work go to week 3 here.

Ariella 3A sun

Mishika 3A sun

And in Week 4 you drew a rough draft of a vase of sunflowers. if you didn’t do this work go to Week 4 here.

Now, in Week 5 and Week 6, I would like you to create your final artwork for this unit of work. I want you to create an artwork of a vase of sunflowers.

This artwork will require some thinking and some organising. So this artwork is due on Monday 24th May 2020!

In the past, my grade 3 students have created a vase of flowers like this.

This artwork involved-

  • drawing a line across the paper to show the edge of the table

  • painting the background and the table clothgrade 3 van gogh sunflowers painting 64 2015

  • printing flower stems using a piece of scrap cardboard on its sidegrade 3 van gogh sunflowers painting 59 2015

  • making sure the stems weren’t all perfectly straightgrade 3 van gogh sunflowers painting 56 2015

  • painting or printing sunflower heads leaving one stem without a headgrade 3 van gogh sunflowers painting 55 2015

  • making sure the sunflowers were not all just facing the frontgrade 3 van gogh sunflowers painting 54 2015

  • some of the sunflowers might even be dropping their petals onto the tableclothgrade 3 van gogh sunflowers painting 52 2015

  • folding a piece of coloured paper in half and drawing half a vase on one side, cutting out the shape and unfolding it to form a vasegrade 3 van gogh sunflowers painting 51 2015

  • gluing the paper vase on top of the stemsgrade 3 van gogh sunflowers painting 49 2015

  • decorating the vase with buttons, beads, sequins, ribbon, paper and fabric scrapsgrade 3 van gogh sunflowers painting 35 2015

  • creating the last sunflower head with Model Magic, an air dry clay, gluing it onto the last stem and painting it so one of the flower heads was three dimensional.grade 3 van gogh sunflowers painting 28 2015

This sort of artwork is called mixed media because so many different sorts of materials and ways of creating are used at the same time to create a whole artwork.

But in this time of remote learning we all have to adapt to creating at home.

So you have lots of choice with how you create your vase of sunflowers this week. However I want you to use more than one sort of material or one way of creating your art work.

So perhaps you will draw

or paint

or use oil pastels

or use lego

or make salt dough

Salt Dough Recipe


  • I cup salt
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 cup hot water


  1. Add salt and plain flour to a bowl gradually adding hot water. You might not need all the water!
  2. Mix together until a dough forms. Make sure it isn’t sticky.
  3. Leave your salt dough creations to air dry overnight. Then put your salt dough creations in the oven at 120 degrees Celsius for about 3 hours.
  4. When your salt dough creations are cool you can paint them. If you don’t have gloss paint and you want them to look shiny you can paint them with varnish when the paint is dry. If you don’t have any varnish just paint them with PVA glue. This will also make them nice and shiny.

or use cut paper

or folded paper

or torn paper

or cardboard

use stuff from the kitchen drawers and cupboards

or stuff out of the laundry basket

or other stuff

or all of those things

or something I haven’t even listed!

And if you decide to create other sorts of flowers instead of sunflowers that is also okay.

This cooking artist, Lorraine Elliott from  her website Not Quite Nigella has created a focaccia as a vase of sunflowers!

I am giving you lots and lots and lots of choice

in how you create your artwork but I am NOT telling you to go out and buy stuff! Use what is already in your home! Don’t forget to ask permission to pull stuff out of cupboards to use or to make salt dough, or things like that.

Email your photos to me when you have finished.

And, of course, tidy up after you have created!!!

I cannot wait to see your artworks inspired by Vincent Van Gogh’s sunflower paintings!

You can send it in earlier but remember this artwork is due on Monday 24th May 2020!

Have fun creating!

Mrs Menhennet

And here they are!

Shilpa 3C sunflowers

Preet 3F fin

Mia S 3A fin

marko 3D fin

Mahli 3A fin

Joseph 3A fin

Jaivant 3D fin a

Ishmay 3C fin ?

Ishmay 3C fin

Gemma 3E fin

Devman 3E fin

Chanuka 3E fin

Chelsea 3C fin

Cooper B 3E fin

Cooper T 3E fin

Ella 3B fin

Jose 3B fin mod

Reuben 3C fin 3

reuben 3C fin

Reuben 3C fin 4

Yes, that is Sunflower bread! You saw it here first!

Reuben 3C fin 2



Sienna 3C fin

Oscar 3D fin

Jacob 3D fin 2

Ava 3E fin

Zane 3D fin

Lucy S 3E fin

Ben Thomson 3E fin

Krish 3D FIN

Lucy 3B fin

Wyatt 3B fin

Kowkeb 3D fin

Lucy 3E fin

Sarah 3D fin

Nina 3D fin

Ronnie 3A cbfin

Nida 3E fin jpg

Abby 3A fin

Erika 3A fin

Anirudh 3B fin

Ariella 3A fin

Jason 3D fin

Jaivant 3D fin b

Scarlett 3D fin

Aanya 3A fin

Marwan 3B fi

tyler 3A fin

Marwan 3B fi




Wajiha 3C fin

William 3E fin

William 3E fin

Mia g 3F fin

Luka 3A fin

Emily 3C fin

Jasmin 3Ffin

Ikuna 3B fin.jpeg copy

Jason 3D fin

Noah G 3B fin

Diya 3A fin

Ariella 3A fin

Jasmine 3F fin

Chloe 3D fin

Chalice 3A fin

Victor 3A fin

Dsnuli 3F fin

Krish 3D fin

Aishah 3F fin

Paiten 3 fin

Karnik 3C fin

Claire 3A fin

Dylan 3F fin

Marko 3D fin

Mishika 3A fin

Emily 3F fin

Aanya 3F fin

Ranveer 3A sunflowers

Don’t forget to leave a comment!

My students love reading your comments!

April 21


When we return to school after Easter my grade 4 students will be almost ready to create their celestial bodies in clay. They will have one more practice session and then in week 2 they will make their final piece.

Clay, as for most things with my students, is never a one off session. You cannot get skill development or clayworks like these without exploring the materials and tools and experimenting with ideas. Yes, it is hard work, yes, it is messy, and yes, it can be loud, especially at pack up time on my awfully thin laminated art room table tops but the students are smiling, eager and learning – what more could you want!

Whenever we are working with clay I frequently remind the students that we only have one rule for clay. I say it and the students all chant it back to me, whether they are in Preps or Grade 6. “YOU MUST BE SENSIBLE WITH THE CLAY! With the Prep students I usually take it a bit further.

“Can you stick it in your ear?’                                    “NO!”

Can you stick it in somebody else’s ear?”              “NO!”

Can you stick it in Mrs Menhennet’s ear?             “NO!”

And on it goes until they are all falling about laughing.

However, the students know this is quite serious as we then discuss the consequence of not being sensible with the clay (and the tools and the slip, etc). And the consequence is that the clay is removed from the student. They then wash their hands and sit on the floor while everyone else is working at the tables. A direct consequence like this makes sense to the students and is much more effective than a detention that would not even be on the same day!

And now back to the process………In the first session I bombard the students with images of artworks incorporating the sun, the moon, planets, stars, etc, etc.

These images include all sorts of artworks – jewellery, clayworks, paintings, drawings, sculptures, metalwork, embroideries, photography, and the list goes on.  You can find lots of images of celestial bodies on my Pinterest board.

And then I let them loose on the clay – and then we pack up and when it is pack up time NOBODY wants to, as they are all so into what they are doing.

In the second session I show them examples from grade 4 students previously. We discuss them and any interesting stuff they have looked at in their independent research and then they get stuck into their own creations/experiments again. I also put slip on the tables and remind them how to use correct joining technique – the four s words –  score, slip, stick, smooth! And they chant them after me!

Depending on the school calendar and the crazy timetable that changes constantly, the students will have one or two more sessions to practice/refine their ideas.  The students choose whether to make a flat 2D or a 3D clay piece. There are usually groans at pack up time at the end of these sessions but I do photograph any experiments the students are keen to keep in mind and then they all pack up their clay.

The students are encouraged to do their own research for inspirational images in their own time as they all have IPads and/or computer access.

By the time the final session comes around the students know that they need to complete their clay piece in one session. Most students manage this as they have been working on an idea for several sessions and get faster at creating and refining their clay piece each week.

I scratch the students initials and grade into the base of their finished piece with a sharp skewer before I put it on a rack to dry. This seems to eliminate any arguments about which piece belongs to whom which I used to have when they all did it themselves, as it is in my neat lettering. It doesn’t take long, gives me a chance for a brief chat with the artist about their work and check that it is joined together properly and perhaps send some students back to the table to fix an issue.

Once the works have been fired the students paint them. I encourage the students to think about the painting process before they start and have a plan in their head for what they want to do. Just a simple statement like this is enough to stop most rushing and slapping paint on willy nilly!

Thanks for looking. Leave a comment!


August 20


grade 1 clay 29

It has come to my attention that lots of Visual Arts programs/classrooms don’t seem to be doing clay anymore!

grade 1 clay

grade 1 clay 57

I have developed this opinion after discussing it, off the cuff, at school, at network meetings, at our Outer West Visual Art Teachers Network Professional Learning Day, earlier this year, talking to colleagues at last year’s Art Education Victoria Conference, etc, etc, etc.

grade 1 clay 53

grade 1 clay 53

And, as far as I am aware, modelling is still a part of the Visual Arts Curriculum in Victoria.

grade 1 clay 54

grade 1 clay 54

I use clay for most of my modelling sessions. It’s fun. It’s messy! It’s cheap! And my students love it! And I love it!

grade 1 clay 65

grade 1 clay 65

And, let’s face it, the Visual Arts room is the last place in the school where you are not only allowed, but encouraged, to make a mess, while you express yourself!

clay man in boat

grade 1 clay 32

So what is happening out there? Are you still doing clay at your school? Have you got a kiln that is no longer being used? Why not? Do you find it too messy? Seriously? Or is all the kiln firing too time consuming? is it an OH&S matter at your school? Why? Do you use alternative materials to clay for modelling or is it just not part of your Visual Arts curriculum any more???? Do you find it a bit scary – a bit out of your comfort zone? Would it be helpful if more networks or other bodies were offering more professional learning in this area?

grade 1 clay face 22

grade 1 clay face 22

Please reply and comment on my observation as I would really like to know what you think.


PS I have mentioned this to my students and they have been as horrified as I am that there are other students out there who seem to be missing out on such a wonderful material to learn and have fun with in the art room.

grade 1 clay face 27

grade 1 clay face 27

September 29


This is what happened when I gave the Grade 1 children a tub of wooden clay tools for the first time. Up until this stage they had only been using their hands and fingers as tools. I explained that this was a time to try out and experiment with the tools and see what they could do with them.

It was interesting how some of the children madly textured their work while others incorporated the tools into their finished items. Hey, I didn’t tell them that they couldn’t do that!

Quite a few of the children created a clutch of a few small items rather than make one large piece, and they all knew that none of this work was going to be kept but I would try to photograph their experiments before their session finished.

We certainly had a terrific discussion after everyone had walked aroud and looked at each other’s work.

“How did you do that?”

I wish I had thought of that!”

“I’m going to try to do mine like that next time!”

How did you make that shape?”

“Can we use the clay tools like that?”

“I made my clay flat like a picture but next time I want to make a fat shape that sits up on the table.”

And just in case you were like me who mistakenly assumed this was a nice tree – this is the Tower of Isengard from the Lord of the Rings!!!