Lesson Objectives: Students use a real leaf to create a ceramic dish. Students are introduced to the technique of clay slab. Form is recognized when 3 dimensions are present (height, length, and depth). 

Time Required:      2 sessions

Artist: Dorothy Torivio, Ceramic Vessel, Fall Leaves Fall! by Zoe Hall (book) 

Materials (Session 1):


Fresh leaves

Brown paper bag or cardboard placemats

Rolling pins

Clay cutting tools or plastic knives


Materials (Session 2):


Dixie Cups



Read suggested book and identify large fresh leaves. Discuss the characteristics of form.

Procedure (Session 1):

  1. Students begin with a fist-sized lump of clay that is rolled and flattened into a ¼ inch thick slab large enough to surround the leaf they are working with.
  2. Press the leaf into the slab of clay and check a section to be sure that the leaf’s veins etch deeply enough to leave a good impression.
  3. Cut around the perimeter of the leaf shape with a butter knife or clay tool removing excess clay and gently rub the edges to smooth.  Remove leaf.
  4. Have the students cup the imprinted leaf gently in one hand so the edges curl up on the sides to create a dish shape.
  5. Carefully impress the student’s initials on the back.  Clay is then left until bone-dry: 14 days.
  6. Bisque fire in the kiln.

Procedure (Session 2):

  1. Paint with glaze. Using 2-3 coats of glaze will result in a more vibrant color.
  2. Don’t get glaze on the bottom! Or, use stilts in the kiln to keep the glaze from coming into contact with the kiln shelves.
  3. Let dry overnight and glaze fire in the kiln.