Ceramic Keepsake Box
Kymberlee Maxine O'Brien demonstrates how to make this earthy ceramic keepsake box.
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Materials and Tools:
clay wire cutter
clay needle tool
2 color glazes
vinyl working surface
brass shim for creating "cookie cutter"
sheets of dry cleaner plastic bags
1. Roll a large slab of clay and wedge or condition it.
2. Measure six 4-inch squares for the sides, top and bottom of the box and cut out using a ruler and knife (figure A).
3. Dry the clay pieces to a "leather hard" stage, which might be 20 minutes, a day or even a week depending on the water content in the clay.
5. Cut a strip of brass shim using scissors and shape it into a heart design (figure C). This will be used as a "cookie cutter" to produce clay designs to embellish the box.
6. Roll out an extra slab of clay and let it sit until it reaches the leather hard stage.
7. Stamp out four hearts using the cookie cutter. Form a heart-shaped handle for the lid of the box (figure D).
8. Score and slip the edges of the clay surfaces and construct the box, smoothing the edges together (figure E).
9. Score and slip the areas on the sides of the box to add the heart shaped clay pieces. Add the heart handle to the top of the lid.
10. Roll out clay in long "ropes" and squeeze them into the bottom inside edges of the box for added strength.
11. Cover the box with plastic and leave it for a few days.
12. Fire in a kiln to a bisque fire stage.
13. Mix two colors of glaze in separate containers. Wearing rubber gloves, dip the bottom of the box 3/4 of the way to the top in the glaze (figure F). Let dry about 20 seconds. Dip the remaining top 1/4 of the box bottom in the second color glaze. Dip the lid in the same manner.
14. Wash any excess glaze off the bottom so that the glaze does not stick to the kiln shelf. Coat the area where the lid meets the box with alumina wash to prevent the lid and box from sticking together.
15. Place the piece in the kiln and fire to cone 06.
Joanne Kluba returns to make a keepsake hinged box decorated with handpainted pears.