Carved Clay Oval Platter
Laura Jean McLaughlin sculpts a unique oval platter.
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Materials and Tools:
pre-pugged (de-aired) white stoneware clay
mini ribbon sculpting tools
needle tool brushes
under glaze wash
1. Slice four slabs of pre-pugged white stoneware clay into 1- to 2-inch slabs and place them across a large piece of canvas.
2. Smooth the slabs of clay together on both sides and set in front of the slab roller wheel sandwiched between two pieces of canvas.
3. Set the slab roller at about 1/4 inch thickness.
4. Send the clay through the slab roller.
5. Cut out an oval shape larger than the plaster mold using a fettling knife (figure A).
6. Save left over scraps of clay, after cutting the oval shape, in a plastic bag for future use.
7. Smooth the surface of the oval clay slab with a metal rib.
8. Lift the slab of clay and gently slump it into the oval plaster mold and trim excess clay (figure B).
9. Lightly wrap the oval platter with plastic and let it set up to a leather hard stage.
10. When the clay reaches the leather hard stage lift the oval platter out of the plaster mold.
11. Slip and score the leather hard clay on the back with a toothbrush. This is where the hooks will be located.
12. After firing, press a wad of clay onto the slipped and scored surface and poke a hole into the wad with a wire tool. This will be for hanging the platter. Note: Make the hole large enough for the wire to fit through.
13. Smooth the surface of the platter with a damp sponge.
14. Paint black under glaze on the center part of the oval platter (figure C).
15. When the under glaze is dry to the touch, carve out the desired imagery using a wire stylus (figure D).
16. Clean out the background of the imagery with mini ribbon sculpting tools.
17. Flip the oval platter over and carve imagery on the back of the platter as desired.
18. Wrap the platter in plastic and let it dry to the bone-dry stage.
19. Put the bone-dry oval platter into the kiln and bisque fire the kiln to cone 04.
20. After the bisque firing, paint the black wash onto the back of the platter and sponge off excess to expose the black in the crevices.
21. On the front of the oval platter paint the colored under glazes in stripes around the black and white imagery and then use the black under glaze to accentuate the colored stripes (figure E).
22. Paint a clear glaze over the entire front of the oval platter.
23. Put the platter back into the kiln and fire it to cone 8.
24. After the final glaze firing, place wire on the back of the platter for hanging or use to serve food, as the platter is dishwasher safe.
Rubber stamps make this a great introduction to the art of carving polymer clay.