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
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!