How to Sculpt a Ceramic Pear
Materials and Tools:
low-fire white clay
underglazes in rich yellows, greens, browns and a touch of red
clear crackle glaze
rubber-tip shaping tool
plastic (to cover pear while drying)
black acrylic paint
1. Cut a piece of clay from the block with a clay-cutting wire. Wedge the clay to remove air bubbles, and align the clay particles for throwing.
2. Place the clay on a bat on a potter's wheel and center the clay. Throw the initial cone form on the potter's wheel.
4. Trim excess clay on the bottom to provide a large enough hole to fit two fingers. Note: This is where a logo may be attached.
5. Smooth the clay by wiping it with a wet sponge and stroking it with a rib. Sculpt the pear shape by poking indentations in the side with the handle of a paintbrush. Add texture to the sides with a brush tool.
7. Attach the stem by scoring the inside edges of the top and pressing the stem into the opening with slip.
9. Stamp leaves into the clay with a homemade leaf stamp.
11. Attach the leaf to the pear neck by scoring and using slip.
12. Check the pear for cracks or weak attachment points.
13. Lightly sponge the pear for a smooth overall surface.
14. Set the pear aside to dry for a week, covered with plastic so the stem doesn't dry too quickly, and check occasionally.
15. Once it's fully dry, wipe the pear with a sponge for a smooth finish.
17. Remove the pear from the kiln and clean with a sponge.
18. Paint on the underglaze layers, starting with light colors and ending with dark brown sponged on around the hip down to the bottom of the pear.
19. Add very dark brown glaze to the nicks in the pear to highlight selected areas.
21. Paint the stem brown and the leaf green.
22. Wipe away the underglaze on the leaf and the stem at specific areas to bring out the relief pattern of the leaf and the stem.
24. Glaze the inside of the pear with a thin coat.
25. Inspect the pear and touch up where needed.
27. Unload the kiln.
28. Sand the bottom of the pear to remove the prong marks, using a rotary tool.
30. Wash the pear and let it dry.