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Memorial Day Poppies

Edgar Nye, Poppies, undated. Oil on board. Morris Museum of Art, Augusta, Georgia.

Born in Richmond, Virginia, in 1879, Edgar Hewitt Nye lived, worked, and taught in Washington, D.C., for fifty-eight years. He was educated in public schools before entering the Corcoran School of Art at age thirteen, where he studied for eight years before setting off on the requisite grand tour of Europe. Along the way, he married and spent a brief time studying at Oxford. On the Nyes’ return to Washington, he settled into his studio and began to produce a vast body of work, mainly landscapes and street scenes. He exhibited widely in Washington and elsewhere. His work was included in group exhibitions hosted by the Washington Water Color Club, the Society of Washington Artists, the Society of Independent Artists, the Washington Landscape Club, and the Corcoran Gallery of Art. He was the recipient of many honors and awards, and on the first anniversary of his death the Corcoran Gallery of Art presented a memorial exhibition of his work in recognition of the prominent place he held in the Washington art community. His work is part of the permanent collections of the Phillips Collection, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Corcoran Collection of the National Gallery of Art, and the Morris Museum of Art.

Clay Poppies


Red and Black Clay (we used Crayola Model Magic, but you can use any sculpting clay)


X-acto knife

*Rolling Pin (Optional)


  1. Roll out the red clay approximately 1/8 of an inch thick

  2. Cut out 4-6 petals (We thought poppies had 3 petals, oops! Thanks google!)

  3. Leave the bottom of the petals thick but thin out and spread the top of the petals

  4. To make the petals look more realistic, pinch, pull and create dips in the edges.

  5. Overlap the bottoms of the petals and press together

  6. Overlap the sides of the petals and press together

  7. Gather a small amount of black clay, and form it around a toothpick

  8. Once the toothpick is covered stick one end in the center of the flower

  9. Repeat step 7 and 8 until satisfied

  10. Let clay dry


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