Clay Terrace Houses
Term: 4 Year: 2011
Year Five and Six students at Cranbourne Carlisle Primary School were investigating the Gold Rush in Australia in
Linking with their classroom programme of inquiry, the students’ visual art lessons involved careful
observations of the types of housing in the cities of Sydney and Melbourne during this boom period.
Discussions that emanated from these observations showed that the students were keen to explore aspects such
as: Their small size in comparison to contemporary estate housing and why people lived in close proximity to
cities with reference to transport and commerce. We discussed the styles, decorative elements, whether one or
two stories and the Melbourne suburbs in which they could be located. It was also timely that ‘The
Block’ television series ran congruently with the making of the Terrace Houses!
The students prepared several preliminary drawings of terrace houses and it became apparent that their
‘architectural’ knowledge was enhanced due to such detail within their plans. Each student
was given a slab of either buff raku or white hand-building clay with which to create their house. Techniques
of construction involved the cutting of the upper shape of roofing, incising lines, imprinting with found objects,
and adding excess clay via slip and scoring.
Oxides were then applied to the grooves after the first bisque firing, followed by some Cesco cracklene gold glaze
in the window cavities. Following the glaze firing, the students then applied shimmer paints over the raised
patterned and textured areas, in order to allow the oxides to peep through. Several different painting
applications were practiced in order to create such effects, resulting in some very impressive and striking terrace
houses that the students will treasure for a very long time.
Visual Art – Cranbourne Carlisle Primary School
Suitable for Level 4