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Put an Owl on it!

December 19, 2011


As the parody “Put a bird on it” points out, it is currently very popular to put birds on everything. I love birds, so my latest tea pot has an owl on it. This piece was inspired by a friend who loves owls. She requested a tea pot shaped like an owl, but since that would be quite a task I told her I could put an owl on it!

Tea pots are created in 4 pieces: the body, spout, handle and lid. The body, spout, and lid are thrown on the wheel. The spout and lid are thrown “off the hump.” Since centering a small amount of clay for the lid or spout would be very difficult, about four pounds of clay is thrown and just the top is centered. So when throwing off the hump I utilize more clay, but only center a small amount at the top. When finished with the small piece I cut if off and center a little more at the top to keep throwing.

After the separate pieces have dried a little bit I connect the spout and handle. If I attempt to attach the pieces when they are still very wet they will loose their shape. Before attaching the spout I press wholes in the side of the pot so the tea will pour.

For the lid I threw the base on the wheel making sure to measure the width so it will fit on the pot. While it dried a little I shaped an owl out of a small ball of clay. Then I attached the owl as the handle for the lid.

After I had all the pieces of the pot connected I painted white porcelain slip on the side so that I could carve the owl on it. I used the sharp end of a chopstick to carve the owl shape into the side of the pot.

I wanted the glaze on the end piece to be very natural like a wood fired finish. It was also important that the glaze did not cover up the owl design on the side. In order to achieve both I used the sprayer at the Craft Guild. The sprayer allows you to spray the glaze onto the pot. This allowed the glaze to be thicker in some areas than others and also allow me to avoid covering the design. I lightly sprayed a dark red orange glaze first and then covered the whole pot in a clear glaze. On the inside I poured a clear, light green glaze. I had never sprayed any of my pottery before so was very nervous about what they would look like, but the colors turned out great and I am very happy with the variance of color around the pot.


From → Pottery Projects

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