Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Hello from Otis! (and me)

This is Otis. He's very friendly, and I'm just gonna let you know, he's also sensitive, and he's waving his trunk, so you'd better wave back. 

My son asked for a "penny" bank, and this is who came out of the clay.

I'm fairly new to pottery. I started pottering around in my friend Christine's studio at the beginning of 2012. I took a long time to actually start making things. Even now, most of what I make is stamps rather than finished items. 

Back in high school we had a "pottery experience" enrichment class and I made a frog toothbrush holder for one of my best friends as a housewarming gift for her new apartment. And once I visited a paint-your-own-pottery studio downtown and glazed a plate. I learned from this experience that nothing ever comes out quite the way you picture it in your head.

I don't know if it's because I'm older, or wiser, or more relaxed, but Otis actually came out pretty much exactly the way that I wanted. His coin slot is the perfect size: just a hair too small for quarters. This I planned so there will be no question of my son keeping the quarters. What? Don't judge me! He's three! He doesn't need to go to the car wash or pay for parking! Why should I let the quarters be squandered on Matchbox cars? 


For Otis, I used two techniques: pinching and coiling. The pinching I used to make little cups that I then stuck together to make a ball. I also made his feet the same way, like little suction cups that I then stuck on after scoring the clay and wetting it. His eyes are little balls, his ears are rolled and pinched balls, and his trunk and tail are coils. His trunk came out so long that it looked like a vacuum hose, so I decided to give him a little nose job while the clay was still pretty wet. 

Fabulous Otis ... I added little dots to his eyes later,
it really made his face have more expression.
Rear view. If you have small children
you may want to cover their eyes .. 
Note the cheeky little lift to his back foot ...
that was actually an accident but we went with it.
I've had catastrophes happen to pottery items I really cared about before, so I let him dry for a looooooooong time before I put him in the queue to be fired. And he came out okay! I wanted him to coordinate with my son's sock monkey bedspread, so I chose a medium blue underglaze. Wax resist on his big toenails and his eyes ... simple glaze job ... and ... voila!

This is a good view of the suction
cup-style feet .... 
Aaaah! Cover your eyes! So cheeky.

 And that is the story of Otis. Of course, now I have to find a cork that fits ... but that's a story for another day, I think. Plus, Otis wants to watch New Girl with me. So. 

See you next time! 

In case you're interested, here is my Etsy shop where I sell handmade clay stamps:

And my friend Christine's shop, where I work off and on in her studio:

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