Bees Box

Ronan Peterson of Chapel Hill, N.C., loves nature, garnering particular inspiration from walks through the woods with his wife and two dogs. The bees box project was inspired by one of these excursions.

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Materials and Tools:

red earthenware clay
white slip
black slip
commercial and shop glazes
throwing bats
wooden rib
ball point pen
cut off wire
loop tools for carving
craft knife
rubber rib
wax resist
scoring tool
needle tool


  1. Weigh and wedge the clay.

  2. Throw on potters wheel on a bat a bottomless cylinder.

  3. Paint on white slip. Draw honeybee through white slip, alter cylinder, release form from bat with cut off wire. Remove from potters wheel and let dry overnight.

  4. Roll out slab and then attach slab as the floor of bees box.

  5. Roll out slab, slump in top of form. Let dry overnight.

  6. Flip slumped slab, attach as top of bees box. Cut to fit and alter top. Paint additional coat of white slip on body of form. Paint slip on lid. Let sit covered overnight.

  7. Carve honeycomb and flowers patterns. Attach sprigs to altered areas of body and top of form. Let dry overnight.

  8. Cut lid following honeycomb pattern. Make and attach small flanges in the form of worms to interior of body. These hold the lid in place, in addition to the cut honeycomb pattern lid seat. Let dry slowly and completely.

  9. After completely dried (takes about a week), bisque fire piece in kiln. It takes 12 hours to fire and 12 hours to cool.

  10. Out of bisque, sand all rough edges from carving. Sponge off dust.

  11. Apply black slip to honeybee and sponge off the excess. The slip stays in honeybee carving and creates high contrast "drawing." Let dry for an hour.

  12. Brush on commercial and shop glazes on honeybee, flowers and attached sprigs. Let dry for 30 minutes.

  13. Brush on wax resist on top of glazed honeybee, flowers and sprigs. Also, wax the bottom of the piece and lid seat, lid and worm flanges. The wax prevents unwanted glaze from covering certain specific areas. Let dry for an hour.

  14. Pour green glaze into the interior, roll around and pour out. Sponge off unwanted glaze.

  15. Brush glaze onto missed areas.

  16. Pour green glaze into lid, roll around and pour out. Sponge off unwanted glaze and brush glaze on missed areas. Let dry for an hour.

  17. Dip exterior bottom first into amber glaze. Sponge it off the bottom, then brush glaze on missed areas.

  18. Dip lid into amber glaze. Brush onto missed areas. Let dry for an hour.

  19. Brush additional green glaze on top of flowers area. Do three coats and let dry overnight.

  20. Glaze fire in kiln. You need 12 hours up and 12 hours for cooling.

  21. Remove from kiln, sand or stone any rough edges.


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