Monday, June 8, 2009
Clay Purse Under Construction
Here's a shot of a clay purse I started last week. Right now it stands about 14" tall. I rolled out the clay; drew the purse pattern shapes on paper and cut out the parts. It is just like sewing except that I join the seams with scoring and slip (very wet clay) and lots of pinching and smoothing. I reach inside and push out the clay until I am happy with the shape; then some stamping of the surface and reach inside to push it out some more; a bit of smoothing, re-stamping, pushing, until all feels and looks right. I cut some straps, add some texture and let them sit and stiffen up a bit before attaching, otherwise they'll just slump over. I cut some heart shapes (not in the photo but you can look down the page to see a finished purse), textured and added the holes so they can be stitched on after the final firing. I used the clay button holes to place holes on the straps so everything will match up when I'm ready to add the buttons. Oh, I also added four feet before piercing holes in the front where I will stitch on a fabric pocket.
I covered it all with a plastic dry cleaning bag for a few days to help the moisture in the clay to move evenly between joined parts which helps it dry without warping or cracking. I remove the plastic a few times each day and then finally take it off and allow the piece to dry completely before firing. This is my favorite stage when it is still dark; just slightly moist yet very firm. Must be why I like the oxide, naked clay finish ... gives it that similar look. In a couple weeks I'll be working on the fabric pocket!