Sculpt and glaze clay faerie houses

Vicky Stone­bridge demon­strates her pot­ter’s wheel skills, as she throws down some clay, sculpts and de­tails, then fires and glazes a set of houses for faeries

ImagineFX - - Issue 153 November 2017 -

Scot­tish artist Vicky Stone­bridge throws down some clay, then sculpts faeries houses of dif­fer­ing shapes and sizes.

Dur­ing my child­hood I wan­dered the Scot­tish hills, look­ing for fairies and be­ing afraid that they might find me! It’s great fun to make some­thing based on the sto­ries that in­flu­enced me.

I use a pot­ter’s wheel to cre­ate the main body of the house in this work­shop, but hand-mak­ing tech­niques such as slab build­ing or coil­ing would work just as well. It takes a lot of prac­tice, but once mas­tered it’s the fastest way of cre­at­ing cylin­dri­cal shapes from clay. I like to do warm-ups and throw ex­per­i­men­tal shapes just to re­lax af­ter a day’s pro­duc­tion throw­ing.

The fairy houses com­prise three shapes: the chim­ney, roof and main house. I throw them ‘off the hump’, which is one cen­tred lump of clay, be­cause it’s eas­ier than cen­tring three pieces of clay. And af­ter the tech­ni­cal work, the dec­o­ra­tive fun starts. It’s a mat­ter of wait­ing for the parts to dry to the right con­sis­tency to stick them to­gether. I want them soft enough to stick and squeeze to­gether, but not so soft that they warp or buckle.

The de­tails and cut­ting out windows and doors takes place over the next two or three days. I use damp cloths, a wa­ter spray and plas­tic bags to slow things down, or just put them out­side in the sun for a short while to speed things up.

Then they’re ready to paint. I have to be bold when I glaze, be­cause any de­tail is lost at high tem­per­a­tures, so I have fun and then wait for the re­sults!

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