Wednesday, 22 February 2012

How to make Clay Tools. The economic way!!

If I had a pound for all the things I have lost over time I would be one lucky lady!
 Tools are with no exception they get lost in clay bags, or they fall behind somewhere never to be retrieved, some don't come back from school after lending, others just simply disappear I am sure of it, never to be seen again, just so annoying! Some of course just have to be replaced . Others though are so easy to make at home using everyday objects that can be turned from their real use into a great clay tool. These are my favourites.....
You know the clay slices/garrotas used to slice clay in smooth neat blocks from a larger clay block.
Well these little wooden toggle buttons with their pre-drilled holes and centre inlay make good alternatives to the dowels used in bought ones. I have used a strong florists wire to use with them but in the past I have used copper fuse wire and fishing twine which have also seen the job through.

Simply wind the wire a few times and if the toggle has a
central hole tuck
it in and feed it through the other side to secure it. If not just wrap it round and tie it at the other side.

I am using it here to show you how it slices through the clay. I prefer to use shorter lengths to use on smaller pieces of clay, but the beauty of making your own is that you can choose what  suits you.

Another clay tool I use on practically every piece is probably the simplest of all. An old store card or an old credit card (deface the card numbers prior, you never know) cut the cards with different edges to smooth, drag, or score the clay before fixing and using clay slip.
My favourite one is the nectar card the curved shape of it is just brilliant for smoothing out the insides of pots and bird feeders and the straight edge is also good for cutting small slabs of clay.

Top Tip!!!
I recently made a load of these clay smoothers for the  children at school to use with their clay projects. But instead of using store cards I used the backs of old sketchbooks, the ones that have a firm plastic type backing. It worked just as well and I was also able to make them larger to use with both hands.
If you have any ideas you would like to share about your
own tools and if you are able to make them. Please feel free to comment

Friday, 17 February 2012

Aboriginal Art Masks ~ School ~

Approximately 200 Aboriginal Art masks made by year 8's dried and fired. The masks were taken from drawings in sketchbooks and designed by the year eights and here are their creations. Symbols and textures have been used based on the Art of the Aboriginal People.

On the drying shelves

Some of the masks as they dry out on the drying shelves.
The clay rollers and stamps that I made for the school children to use in this project.

Some of the finished clay masks after the firing (1000c)

Monday, 6 February 2012

Post firing works...

Last week I fired two kilns, my large kiln at home with all my current work in and the school kiln which had student work in and some glaze samples. (I must blog about these projects as they come and go and before I know it the pupils are all working on something new.) But for now here is some of the new work I have made post firing. My previous blog pictured the pieces before they went in the kiln. This is some of it now,
Porcelain Owl Buttons

A new Indian Flower design plant marker

Porcelain Ring Bowls

Two more smaller sized Bird Feeders


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