Clay Tools Needed: rubber rib, scoring tool (or a needle tool), a rubber stylus, wooden rib, slip trailing bottle. All of my work is slab built from lowfire clay. Using a slab roller, I roll the clay out to 1/4" thickness. (Before I had a slab roller I used a rolling pin and 1/4" wooden dowels to keep the thickness even.)It occurred to me one day making biscuits, that the same process could be applied to my Minis. I now have biscuit cutters in a variety of sizes and the process is much, much quicker It also keeps the sizes more consistant. (Don't worry. These aren't the same cutters I use on the weekends for fresh parsley, rosemary and buttermilk biscuits.) Oh, I like the clay to be a little wetter than leather hard when I start work work with it.
Each mini is made up of 2 circular slabs. The base is 1/2 smaller than the top. A rubber rib is used to smooth the surface of the clay. I also like working ontop of fabric interfacing instead of canvus because the weave is finer and leaves the clay surface smooth. The top is then pinched into a small bowl-like shapeThe edges of the top and bottom are scored (aka scratched)......and a slip of the same clay body is brushed on help attach the two pieces. The top is placed ontop of the bottom, carefully working the seams together.
Using a wooden rib, I then go around the piece and smooth and attach the two pieces, conceiling the seam.
Once the piece if formed, I use my rubber stylus to draw/carve decorative lines or veins.
Again, fingers are great for smoothing those lines.Now, I leave the piece alone until it is leather hard and then incorporate slip trailing/stippling. More on that tomorrow - including the lowfire slip recipe I like to use.
If you have any questions, or other tips for clay slab construction, I'd love to hear from you!
Thanks for reading!