Project by Camille Morin from Arlington, Va.
Materials and Tools:
1/2" thick 12"square or bigger slab of porcelain clay
flexible surface: carpet pad, thin foam, canvas
flat, non-warping surface: drywall, acrylic, masonite
rib tool for smoothing: plastic credit card
12" diameter circular template
8" square template
wire cheese cutter, clay tool with wire or knife tool
hair dye bottle
4-5 multicolored glazes
cheap paintbrush with fine tip
1. Roll out slab of clay with slab roller. Place the slab on top of your flexible surface, which should be on top of your hard, flat, base surface. Smooth and compress the clay surface flat.
2. With circle template, cut a circle out of the slab using a continuous motion at the same angle all the way around. Remove excess clay and soften cut edge with fingertip or slightly damp sponge.
3. Place plastic flat in middle of slab and center square template on slab.
4. Holding template down slightly with one hand, fold the sides sticking out up to a right angle with the base using your other hand. Remove square template.
5. Holding side of hand under each edge, curl and push the clay down in the center of the shape. This forms the "handles" of the tray.
6. Detail the corners with the wire tool by cutting a "V" into the sides of the tray about 1/2 inch from each corner. This gives the tray more personality and a more decorative look. Use a slightly damp sponge to soften sharp edges on tray.
7. Let dry evenly under plastic. Slower drying prevents warping. If the base starts to bow up, compress back down throughout the drying process.
8. Fire to bisque temperature. Let cool. Remove from kiln.
9. To decorate the tray: Place your image template in the center and trace with a pencil.
10. Paint the liquid latex inside your pencil image and let dry. This creates a resist area.
11. Pour first background glaze into square base and let drip out of one corner. Allow glazes to dry between applications. Glaze should run off of the latex image, but you may clean excess beading glaze with sponge.
12. Dip all sides of tray in contrasting glaze color.
13. Using a sharp point to pry, pull up the latex and slowly peel off.
14. At this point you may decorate the background glazes with a third glaze color that you can pipe through a hair dye bottle. A thicker glaze works best for this. Think of trailing dots, stripes, or vines with leaves. Be careful not to get glaze inside your stenciled image.
15. Paint wax outside your image on top of the background glaze in the square. Allow to dry in front of a fan for 5 minutes.
16. "Float" a small amount of glaze into the blank area of your image. Sponge out any excess.
17. Fire your tray. Note that wax burns off in the firing process.