Monday, 16 January 2017

The Cass Art Challenge - #BeInspired with DAS Modelling Clay

As I told you yesterday, we received a fabulous package of DAS goodies in order to take part in the Cass Art Challenge. Our first brief eased us in gently : create new and exciting content for the #BeInspired campaign. They explained : "We want to see what inspires your practice and the materials you use. Do you seek creativity from artists, galleries or materials or are your influences more organic, drawn from your surroundings or encounters with others? Wherever you find your flow, we want to hear about it."

One thing I've noticed about the Madhouse kids (and, I think, all kids) is that they have endless ideas when it comes to arts and crafts. As soon as we got all the equipment out, they were off without a second's hesitation !

Within minutes, Juliette had created this cute snowman. I would guess her inspiration was a bit of wishful thinking, as there was a forecast of snow earlier in the week and it bypassed us - we had a heavy snowfall overnight but the ground was wet so it didn't lay at all.

While Pierre was deep in concentration, putting the finishing touches to his masterpiece, Juliette started experimenting with the DAS Idea Mix, mixing red or blue into the clay, for a uniform or marbled effect.

Juliette often seems to draw her inspiration from things we've seen or done in the last few weeks so I was hardly surprised when she decided to create a butterfly - last week, we'd discovered a butterfly in the house (in January ?!!) when we came back from our geocaching adventure.

The natural world is always a great source of inspiration and we frequently come back from nature walks, armed with acorns, feathers, twigs and leaves that can be incorporated into various crafts projects, either for their shapes, colours or textures.

Pierre, on the other hand, draws principally from his exuberant imagination, as was proved when he proudly revealed his creation - an alien spider !

However, he is also like a sponge, soaking up other people's ideas and giving them his own twist, so when I invited him to look through some of the other posts in the Cass Art Challenge by googling the #BeInspired hashtag, he used some of their ideas and techniques as a starting point to make these "heart kebabs" ! He used a heart-shaped cookie cutter both for cutting out the shape and also imprinting the wavy lines pattern.

As the kids were busy, I glanced around the room and my eyes fell on our collection of figurines representing typical costumes from Dunkirk carnival, a crazy, colourful celebration featuring gigantic crowds of men in drag and other fancy dress.

Several years ago, I paid for this totally personalised model to be created by a local artist, Dominique Mouftier, from a photograph of Madhouse Daddy in the get-up he wore back then. These days, he and his friend dress up as Uncle Sam, popularised in the "I Want You for US Army" posters. I wasn't at all sure that I'd manage to pull it off but I thought it would be fun trying to recreate that !

I started off with a very rough human figure and used cocktail sticks to help hold it all together. I used some of the uniform blue clay to completely cover the figure, and leave a cape-style flap at the back, as this is the colour of their long-tailed jacket.

I next lined up thin sausages of red and white clay before pressing down on them so that they all stuck together. I cut strips off for the stripey hat and trousers.

I added extra cocktail sticks for support and decided to go for an upright figurine with a stand.

I was actually really pleased with how it came out ... even if I didn't have time to make hands or feet !

The kids were very impressed (probably because they've seen my previous attempts at being artistic !) and instantly recognised that "I'd made Dad" !

As the clay is air-drying, there was no need to bake them, but I did put them on the radiator to help them dry out.

We had loads of fun with this project and were really impressed with the results - if we can manage it, anyone can, so hopefully, we've helped you to #BeInspired !

Disclosure : We received a mystery pack of art supplies in order to take part in the Cass Art Challenge. For more information about the brand, head over to


  1. This clay looks great fun. Love the range of things you made

  2. Looks like you all had such great fun making things out of clay. I have zero imagination so I love how you can get ideas. The alien spider looks amazing by the way!

    1. You can always count on the kids for having endless imagination !

  3. You are all so creative! Daddy in drag looks amazing. Your sculpture of Uncle Sam is splendid, but Pierre's alien spider wins. :)

    1. Nowhere near your artistic talent but we do have plenty of enthusiasm ! lol :)


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