Tuesday, February 11, 2014


In the interest of paring-down and saving on space, I've been trying to use up some old craft materials.  The challenge is to use what I already have and not buy anything new.  Well, I had to buy a fairly large block of air-dry ceramic clay to repair a broken canister awhile back.  The repair ended up using very little clay so I had a LOT left and, since it wasn't particularly cheap, I wanted to made sure I used it all before it dried.  I needed a planter for the shelf in my kitchen and had seen some other bowl-shaped planters that had animal ears and stuff on them so I decided to make one in the shape of an elephant.
First I shaped him over an existing bowl and tacked on the other parts.  Did I mention that I don't have any tools besides an X-Acto knife?  Yeah, that's why he's so lumpy.  Then I let him harden enough that he kept his shape and his bits didn't fall off.  My sister said that I should of just sent the extra clay to her instead and she would have rolled it in a ball and made me the best paperweight ever.

Here he is after a smoothing layer of slip.  People seemed to like his cellulite-like texture so I just left it that way.  I only had one semester of ceramics in college and it took about the whole semester to be able to handle the clay easily enough that I didn't want to scream.  If you're thinking of taking ceramics as a blow-off class, let me warn you in advance: ceramics is CRAZY HARD.  I was feeling pretty good about this guy until I came back later to find that my slip was too wet and his bottom had fallen out.  I patched it into place and it fell out AGAIN.  I had to reinforce the crap out of the bottom of this guy's bowl, but after a few days of slowly filling in the cracks he was ready to paint.
I used Martha Stewart's Glass paint in Black Opaque Gloss, which I had leftover from painting my kitchen canisters.  This paint hardens into a pretty sturdy glaze if you bake it and the baking also fired the clay enough that it lost its plasticity and I'm not so worried about it falling apart if it gets wet.  It's not nearly as good as a kiln firing, but did I mention that I didn't use any tools to make this thing?  Yeah, that's the kind of project this was.  I'm just relieved he didn't explode in the oven.
Here he is with a face!  And here is his butt again!  I wanted to keep him simple and graphic and ADORABLE!
Aaaaand... the end product!  He looks right at home in his place of honor on my kitchen shelf, holding a flowering plant that will probably die.  But still, I'm pretty pleased with how he turned out.  There was a little bit of clay left over after all of this, which I promptly packaged and sent off to my sister.  YOU'RE WELCOME, Kimmy.  I'm expecting the best paperweight ever.


Eliza Kinkz said...

What paint did you use for the face? This is wicked cute, lady!

CARRIE said...

Thanks! I just used a white ultra-fine Elmer's Painters Opaque Paint Marker (it's what I had on hand).