I have been busy making this week and as the kiln has been on pretty much non stop I've been lucky enough to be able to work outside and get away from the mad heat inside the studio and get out in the fresh air! I thought it would be cool to do a bit of a snap shot of how I make some of my pieces, to let you in on the process.......
This is the 'how I' for my tealight lanterns:-
I first roll out sheets of clay (I have to do this by hand which can be rather painful and laborious)
You can buy these magic roller tables that make it so much easier but are massive and expensive....maybe one day..... It is important the sheets are of an even thickness with no air pockets-this could lead to cracking and warping or even exploding in the kiln!
And then using templates I have made cut out the sides, backs and bases for the lanterns
These need a little time to 'set up' as they call it and harden slightly before I cookie cutter the hearts, stars and patterns, these patterns can be random or some are certain ones that I use regularly and look pretty :)
Next is the assembly which always reminds me of building a house.
The edges of all sides are scored in a cross hatch and then the backs and sides are quite literally stuck together with clay slurry (really gloopy clay).
There is a sequence of assembly that has to be followed so the weight distribution when drying and firing is as equal as possible ( I have found this out to my detriment will cracks and warps a plenty!)
After much mushing and squashing the resemblance of a lantern appears.... yeah!
After a while of drying to a on the dry side 'leather hard' stage
they are then tidied up completely so there is no jaggedy bits or gloopy clay and all is smooth and sections are all snuggly fitted together
I often tend to faddle abit more until I am completely satisfied (curse of a perfectionist!)
And then all that is left to do is drying and then the glazing process.......