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Owl Mania

November 26, 2014

photo 4

I am finally creating a new post! It has been a while since I have written, but I have still been busy making pots. It has been exciting to see people reading my blog even though I have not been able to write. I began my blog three years ago as I struggled through my internship as a counselor finding a job and working on my hours. This month I have finally finished all 3,000 internship hours! Helping people through difficult times is very rewarding, but it has shown me how necessary it is for me to remember to take care of myself. Part of my self care has been taking time to create and play with clay. I find the creative process of taking a lump of clay and turning into a cute owl or beautiful bowl relaxing and rejuvenating. One of my favorite things to make is owls and in this blog I will show you how I made them. I have made dozes of owls and each one is a little different. Each one starts out as a little pinch pot and then is shaped to a unique form. All you need is a bucket of water, a small lump of clay, and a wooden clay tool.




I form the lump of clay into the general shape of the owl to start. Rather than being round I make it into a egg shape with a flat bottom. As you can see in the picture above the shape is closer to a cylinder with a rounded top than a circle.



The flat bottom makes the clay easier to shape and allows the edges of the piece to be more even. Begin the pinch pot by pressing a whole through the bottom of the clay with your thumb. Make sure only to press your thumb three fourths of the way in so that you have some clay left to shape the head later.


A pinch pot is formed by pinching up as you turn the clay. Rotate the clay in your hand as you pinch the clay out and up to thin the walls of the clay. In the picture above you can see how the walls of the piece are thinner and the form is longer. Avoid making the walls too thin or you will have trouble keeping the piece from collapsing as you form it later.


Thanks to the beginning lump of clay being a rounded cylinder shape the pinch pot is already beginning to take on the shape of the owl. Next you will shape the ears. I shape the ears  and head first because it puts a lot of pressure on the bottom of the piece. Previously when I shaped the head last the bottom was more likely to collapse.


I begin the ears by pinching the excess clay into the corners with my thumbs.




I continue to shape the clay until the ears look like cute little triangles. There are many possibilities of how the ears can look but you can see my favorite shape for the ears in the above picture.


Now time to make the eyes. I use my knuckles to create the circles for the eyes.



Once I make the initial circles I continue to press out the eyes with my thumbs. I found the cuteness of the owl directly relates with the size and roundness of the eyes. I think they look cutest with wide eyes.


Now that the head is formed I want the body to be rounder and look more fluffy. In the picture above you can see how I pressed from the inside out to make the sides rounded.


In the picture above the right side has been pushed out and the left is still the same. How far you push out determines how fluffy he will look.



Next I shape the neck with my thumb just below the eyes. Sometimes I push the side out again after I form the neck depending on how round I want the owl to be.



Next I use the side of my thumb to shape the wings. I support the inside with my pointer and middle finger and press in with my thumb from the outside.



I like to give them little feet. I use the round end of the tool to make gap between the feet. Then I use the flat side to  make the toe gaps.



I don’t put beaks on all my owls but I decided to put one on this owl. You can see in the picture above I used the flat end of the tool to remove excess clay to create the triangle shape for the beak.



I also don’t always attach round eyes, but decided this would be cute with them. When I don’t attach the clay eyes I just paint a dot when I glaze them (you can see an example in the first image of the blog). For the clay to attach to itself you have to slip and score the area you want. Slip and score means to scrape or scratch the clay and then add water. This is will allow the eye to attach and not fall off later.



Sometimes I like to make pupils for the eyes by using the pointed end of the stick.


Next I create the wings and tail on he back of the piece.


I use my thumb to create the “V” shape for the wings. If you want the wings to look more rounded or fluffy you can push out from the inside.



Sometimes I stop there and am happy with the way the owl looks. For this owl I wanted him to have a fluffy texture so I used the flat end of the tool to create small triangle shapes. I cover his entire belly.





Then I use the same part of the stick used for the feather texture on his belly to put feathers around his eyes.


Lastly I use the side of the flattened end of the stick to create lines in the shape of feathers all around the body. There are many ways to do the lines but you can check out the photos below to see how I do it.





I have tried many glazes on this type of owl, but I prefer just to rub red iron oxide onto the textures. I love how the sandy color  and texture of the bare clay stands out when they are finished. There are many ways to make an owl so I hope you will enjoy making your very own owl.


From → Pottery Projects

One Comment
  1. I adore these owls. They are cute without being cutesy!

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