Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Pottery: Critter Shakers

Sammy took some pottery sessions with me this summer. We wanted to make some critter shaker balls, like Sixty, who he made in his 6th grade art class this past school year. For me for Mother's Day!

If you pick Sixty up and shake him, he rattles in a very pleasant way. That's because he has little balls of clay inside of him. Sammy showed me how to make these by balling up some newspaper and putting clay over it to form a ball. You then add features to it for your critter design. Once the ball is somewhat firm, you cut a circle out of the bottom, carefully pull out the newspaper (which is nice and damp, so it's soft) and then insert dried little balls of clay. The size of your little shaker balls and the amount you insert is up to you, depending upon how you want the ball to sound. Larger shaker balls clank more, while the little ones tinkle, and less of them means a lighter, more spaced apart sound, while many means lots of rattling. Once you have the shaker balls inside, you use new clay and seal up the hole. Then the last, extremely important step is to poke a small hole into the bottom so that air can escape during the bisque firing. When you're ready for the glaze firing, you have to be sure that hole is still clear.

It was so much fun making these critter shaker balls with Sammy, and then glazing them, too. Couldn't wait to see how they turned out, and we were both super happy. Sammy got much more creative on the glazing than I did. We each made 2, and here are my 2 critter shakers...

And here are Sammy's... he made them as a matching boy & girl pair...

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