How to Make a Horsehair Wall Platter

Create a distinctive piece of pottery by embellishing it with horsehair strands.

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Materials and Tools:

ceramic clay
clay-cutting wire
potter's wheel
throwing tools
rolling texture wheel
electric kiln
spray bottle
ferric chloride spray
hair dryer
underglazes
black glaze
paintbrush
bucket of water
sponges
trash can
combustible materials; bailing twine, horsehair, newspaper
fire-retardant jacket and fire-retardant gloves
safety glasses
gas mask
raku tongs
black permanent ink
soap and water
wire for hanging
felt pads

Steps:

1. Prepare the clay by wedging it. Throw the clay on the wheel and center the clay.

2. Throw a tall cylinder.

3. Open up the cylinder until it stretches and drops into a platter form.

4. Dry the platter with a hair dryer to help it stiffen and hold its shape. Smooth the inside perfectly with a rib tool.

5. Add decorative lines and a texture design with the pattern roller.

6. Cut the platter from the wheel with a wire tool before removing it from the wheel. Let it dry to a leather-hard stage for about 12 hours.

7. Flip the platter upside down and trim the bottom so that a wire will fit in the foot for hanging later. Let the platter dry to the bone-dry stage, which should take three or four days.

8. Bisque-fire the platter in an electric kiln. Remove it from the kiln when cool.

9. Glaze decorative lines in the piece with black cone 05/06 glaze.

10. Fire to 1,835 degrees and cool to 1,350 degrees.

11. Using raku tongs, pull the platter from the kiln at 1,350 degrees. Place it in a trash can with newspaper and combustible materials. The piece will ignite the paper, helping it to cool more slowly.

12. Place a piece of bailing twine on the platter to begin the marking process. Add horsehair strands, two or three at a time, until the platter design is completed.

13. While it's still in the trash can, spray the platter with a ferric chloride solution to achieve an orange and rust coloration.

14. Remove the platter from the trash can with raku tongs. Let the platter cool.

15. Wash the platter with soap and water. Dry.

16. Apply black permanent ink to the textured design area. Let dry.

17. Wrap a piece of wire around the foot so that the platter can be hung, or add felt pads to the bottom.

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