Hello Interworld. This is my first Blog Post, and I am writing to share a creative activity with my Group Arts Facilitation Classmates, and also with the potentially wider audience of people who may look at this blog into the future and who also like salty bread animals!
I remember fondly salt dough creations myself and my brother made when we were small, in the dresser in our home years after making them. The ravages of time may have made some of them a little less whole, but they still had pride of place next to my mothers best glass, china, and old photos.
Making Salt Dough is an ideal activity to do with children, especially during at this time whilst parents are looking for activities for smallies. No doubts though that this activity can be fun for all ages!
Salt dough Recipe
from bbc good food website.
1 cup / 250g of plain flour
1/2 cup / 125g of salt
1/2 cup of water / approz 125ml
Optional food colouring - I found some in the cupboard so experimented with it.
Paints - whatever you have at home, I had gouache.
Acrylic paint is ideal, you could also use poster paint, glitter.
TIP - If you have any left over dough, moisten it and wrap it in clingfilm and pop it in the fridge it will keep for a long time, until the next creative urge comes knocking. I found the dough easier to work with after it had been in the fridge for a couple of weeks!
1. Preheat the oven to its lowest setting and line a baking sheet with baking parchment.
2. Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. Add the water and stir until it comes together into a ball.
3. Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and shape into your chosen model.
For this exercise we are making Animals, But you can roll it out and cut out shapes, numbers or letters using biscuit cutters, or make any kind of model you can think of.
4. Put your finished items on the lined baking sheet
and bake for 3 hrs or until solid.
5. Leave to cool and then paint.
Option - to paint a coat of varnish over the dried paint to make them more permanent.
Simple designs work best, as the dough isn’t sturdy until baked.
If your child can’t decide between a tall giraffe or a flatter gecko, for example, steer them towards the gecko.
Also bear in mind that the bigger/fatter the model, the longer it will take to harden in the oven.
BEFORE BAKING INTO THE OVEN AFTER BAKING
I made a few different animals to get a feel of the salt dough. The elephant I made first was too complex a form for the dough, It couldn't hold up the legs. I would make an animals/elephants head or a bust (head and shoulders) rather than a figure with legs in future.
I am inviting you to make an animal that you feel connected to in some way, in any way. The chosen creature could remind you of someone who has passed, it could be your favourite, you might think they are beautiful, or they could be your spirit animal.
Any reason is a good reason.
Once you have your critter (or critters) painted, take it on a walk with you.
This walk can be around your room, your house, garden or further afield.
I encourage you to find places for your animal to live, and take a moment in each of the new habitats you have found for your animal.
It might be a meditative activity, a silly fun one, or both!
Please share some photo's of your animals in their new habitats and your reflections of the activity, using the hashtag -
#saltdoughzoo or to be more current #covid19saltdoughzoo
-For classmates share in the group whatsapp ;-)
I hope you have fun doing this exercise and thank you for reading if you have got this far!
Below i am posting a few photos of my animal on a walk and my reason for choosing it.
I chose a slug because they are interesting creatures we don't tend to like touching! I like the shape of slugs, their alien seeming eyes. A sculpture of a slug, (I've made some ceramic ones too) wants to be held and the form to be admired, in a way most of us never seem to do with live slugs.
And also a good friend once said, out of slugs and snails, slugs are the more enlightened of them. Slugs don't need possessions!