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Tiki Central Forums Creating Tiki Other Crafts Lori's first mug - updated 3/13 with final pics of #3
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Lori's first mug - updated 3/13 with final pics of #3
LoriLovesTiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 03, 2011
Posts: 875
From: NJ
Posted: 2012-01-19 4:44 pm   Permalink

After being awed by the talents of many here on tikicentral I am in the process of trying to form my first mug. I teach technology in an upper elementary school and the students currently in art are making coil pots. So I've spent my prep periods this week with my feeble attempt at mug making. The design mimics a 4 ft carved tiki that's in my backyard. I apologize for both my beginner efforts and for my poor photo documenting. I forgot I wanted to document this so I only have a pic at the end of second day.



Any helpful suggestions are welcomed. I still have work to do on him!

In case anyone's interested this is the tiki in my backyard that was my inspiration:


thanks for looking!
PS: Special thanks to Wendy for encouraging an untalented newbie!


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Lori
Tiki Newbie

[ This Message was edited by: LoriLovesTiki 2012-02-16 11:38 ]

[ This Message was edited by: LoriLovesTiki 2012-02-23 07:13 ]

[ This Message was edited by: LoriLovesTiki 2012-03-13 07:42 ]


 
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MadDogMike
Grand Member (6 years)  

Joined: Mar 30, 2008
Posts: 7322
From: The Anvil of the Sun
Posted: 2012-01-19 5:44 pm   Permalink

Lori, I have always found people here to be very helpful and encouraging, especially in the "Other Crafts" forum (just watch out for the lushes in "Food & Drink" below )

Very cool that you are trying your hand at ceramics, it's a great hobby. Symmetry is always a problem for me. If you are looking for intentional asymmetry, that's cool, if not here's a trick I use. Draw out one side of your face in the size you want, lay your paper on the damp clay and trace it with a ball-point pen or other similar tool. It will transfer to the clay. Now flip the paper over and do the same for the other side. Both sides will be the same and you'll have guide lines to carve and built clay on.



Most of all, ENJOY!!!
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LoriLovesTiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 03, 2011
Posts: 875
From: NJ
Posted: 2012-01-19 5:52 pm   Permalink

Great trick, Mike! Yup, this guy's quite asymmetrical! He's actually a but crooked as well! I called him the leaning tower of tiki today.

As to be expected with everything new, I've already learned a TON and he hasn't even gone in the kiln yet!!!

Thanks for responding.


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Lori


 
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VanTiki
Grand Member (6 years)  

Joined: Nov 25, 2005
Posts: 1022
From: Hawaii
Posted: 2012-01-19 6:52 pm   Permalink

Fantastic!

Always happy to see a new Mug Maker take the leap of Clay! Are you going to fire the mug in a kiln? Do you have access to one at your school? Keep the pictures coming!

Henrik "VanTiki"
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danlovestikis
Grand Member (6 years)  

Joined: Jun 17, 2002
Posts: 4794
Posted: 2012-01-20 9:44 pm   Permalink

Hi Lori, I came here to check up on you and learned something from MDM that I didn't know.

One trick I have used is to take a photo and then stick pins through it into the clay to make marks that I can later follow.

Since you are hand building you should also check out UMEONE's thread. She's great at hand building.

When your mug is dry you can round the edges with sandpaper and it will look professional all of a sudden. WEAR A MASK when near any dry clay. Remember it's really dirt and full of bacteria. It also will just plan ruin your lungs. If I have a cut on my hand I don't work the clay until it heals or I wear a glove.

Your mugs going to be great. Wendy
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hang10tiki
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Joined: Jul 18, 2010
Posts: 3865
From: Las Vegas
Posted: 2012-01-21 12:26 pm   Permalink

Lori
Cool start
Love your TC name
U are getting comments from top TC clay-sters
Listen to them very close
They will teach u well and lead u down a good path
Have fun and keep those pics a rolling
Jon/hang10tiki

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LoriLovesTiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 03, 2011
Posts: 875
From: NJ
Posted: 2012-01-22 09:35 am   Permalink

Thanks everyone! Yes, I have access to a kiln @ my school. The first guy is going to get his first fire in a day or two and I hope this second short little fellow I've named "Mel" gets fired at the same time. This one I didn't build up, I just carved into and I used MDM's trick. I drew it, folded the paper in half and then flipped it over. I used the dot trick Wendy mentioned too so his face is somewhat symetrical but he's not very exciting.



I think I like building more than carving so I started #3 by building up my base.

Here's my big question - how do I keep the mug from getting all lumpy and bumpy as I hold him as I carve him or add pieces, etc. When the clay is soft enough to mold it's so easy to miss shape. I suspect it's because I'm using elementary school cheapo class. It only gets fired at a cone 4. Nothing's stopping me from buying "better" clay if I new what I was buying although it would be done to fire a couple of mugs in my school's HUGE kiln. Right now whatever I make with the school's supplies are getting fired with the students' stuff. I know I'm pretty luck in that regard, this playing around is costing me nothing but time. Btw, Wendy I sanded the top of Mel and it made a HUGE improvement, that top edge was horrible. I'm going to sand #1 tomorrow am before he gets into the kiln for his first fire!


 
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LoriLovesTiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 03, 2011
Posts: 875
From: NJ
Posted: 2012-01-22 09:37 am   Permalink

Quote:

Since you are hand building you should also check out UMEONE's thread. She's great at hand building.

When your mug is dry you can round the edges with sandpaper and it will look professional all of a sudden. WEAR A MASK when near any dry clay. Remember it's really dirt and full of bacteria. It also will just plan ruin your lungs. If I have a cut on my hand I don't work the clay until it heals or I wear a glove.

Your mugs going to be great. Wendy




Thanks so much Wendy! I'll go check out Umeone's thread, I need all the help I can find. I did a Google search and didn't find much in the way of hand building. And I'll get a mask to use for sanding, thanks for telling me that.

I appreciate your encouragement so much!
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Lori


 
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LoriLovesTiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 03, 2011
Posts: 875
From: NJ
Posted: 2012-01-22 09:39 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2012-01-21 12:26, hang10tiki wrote:
Lori
Cool start
Love your TC name
U are getting comments from top TC clay-sters
Listen to them very close
They will teach u well and lead u down a good path
Have fun and keep those pics a rolling
Jon/hang10tiki





Thanks Jon! when I found the site I looked at the TC names and just pciked it out of the sky but I'm sure I must have seen Wendy's that day b/c they're so similar. (It was accidental on my part!)
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Lori


 
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danlovestikis
Grand Member (6 years)  

Joined: Jun 17, 2002
Posts: 4794
Posted: 2012-01-22 11:15 am   Permalink

Hi Lori, I only use low fire 04 clays. You'll learn how much you need to dry them before carving. They carve very well at what is called leather hard. Also if you get a dent you can always fill it and sand it later. Today on my thread I'm posting an example of fixing an air bubble.

I hope you find that there is a lot of fun in carving clay. Remember that an air pocket will make your clay explode in the kiln.

Cheers, Wendy
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MadDogMike
Grand Member (6 years)  

Joined: Mar 30, 2008
Posts: 7322
From: The Anvil of the Sun
Posted: 2012-01-22 1:29 pm   Permalink

Lori, check your PMs - I sent you a slab tutorial with pics I had made up for someone, maybe it will help you.

Mike
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VanTiki
Grand Member (6 years)  

Joined: Nov 25, 2005
Posts: 1022
From: Hawaii
Posted: 2012-01-23 6:30 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2012-01-22 09:35, LoriLovesTiki wrote:
Here's my big question - how do I keep the mug from getting all lumpy and bumpy as I hold him as I carve him or add pieces, etc. When the clay is soft enough to mold it's so easy to miss shape. I suspect it's because I'm using elementary school cheapo class. It only gets fired at a cone 4. Nothing's stopping me from buying "better" clay if I new what I was buying although it would be done to fire a couple of mugs in my school's HUGE kiln.



Great question! When I teach handbuilding classes the "handling" of clay is a major focus. The challenge of hand built ceramics over oil clay sculpture over armature is that the ceramic piece needs to be self supporting - and that for the majority of the time you are working with it it is VERY plastic. Years ago when I took fencing I was always told to hold the sword like a captured bird - not too soft so it will escape, but not too hard that you will crush it. Working with wet/soft clay slabs is just the same. Move slowly, always cradle the piece with as much surface area as possible (use the full flat part of your hand to spread the weight, not just a finger or two that will put marks in the clay). The more you hand build, the more the handling of clay will become second nature.

Another big help for smoothing out your piece and getting rid of unwanted finger and tool marks is a scotchbrite pad (the abrasive side of those scrubbing sponges used to scrub dishes). Hit your piece with the rough side of the sponge, then flip to the smooth side. You can get super fancy and do a pass with a soft makeup sponge too (those white super smooth triangle ones). I'll also go through a series of paint brushes (from a rough chip brush to a fine nylon brush) to smooth out my pieces. I posted a few time lapse videos of me making mugs - watch for the sponges and brushes!

http://www.vantiki.com/VanTiki/Movies.html

Timing is everything with hand building. Make your shape. Let it firm up a bit so you can handle it. Add detail. Let it firm up some more. Add more intricate detail and carve away. Let it get leather hard. Carve final detail and get rid of tool marks. If the clay is moving too slowly or quickly between these states, you can slow it down with a spritzer/spray bottle of water, or speed it up with a blowtorch.

Cant wait to see the fired and glazed mug!
Henrik "VanTiki"


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LoriLovesTiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 03, 2011
Posts: 875
From: NJ
Posted: 2012-01-24 11:16 am   Permalink

Quote:


Great question! When I teach handbuilding classes the "handling" of clay is a major focus. The challenge of hand built ceramics over oil clay sculpture over armature is that the ceramic piece needs to be self supporting - and that for the majority of the time you are working with it it is VERY plastic. Years ago when I took fencing I was always told to hold the sword like a captured bird - not too soft so it will escape, but not too hard that you will crush it. Working with wet/soft clay slabs is just the same. Move slowly, always cradle the piece with as much surface area as possible (use the full flat part of your hand to spread the weight, not just a finger or two that will put marks in the clay). The more you hand build, the more the handling of clay will become second nature.

Another big help for smoothing out your piece and getting rid of unwanted finger and tool marks is a scotchbrite pad (the abrasive side of those scrubbing sponges used to scrub dishes). Hit your piece with the rough side of the sponge, then flip to the smooth side. You can get super fancy and do a pass with a soft makeup sponge too (those white super smooth triangle ones). I'll also go through a series of paint brushes (from a rough chip brush to a fine nylon brush) to smooth out my pieces. I posted a few time lapse videos of me making mugs - watch for the sponges and brushes!

http://www.vantiki.com/VanTiki/Movies.html

Timing is everything with hand building. Make your shape. Let it firm up a bit so you can handle it. Add detail. Let it firm up some more. Add more intricate detail and carve away. Let it get leather hard. Carve final detail and get rid of tool marks. If the clay is moving too slowly or quickly between these states, you can slow it down with a spritzer/spray bottle of water, or speed it up with a blowtorch.

Cant wait to see the fired and glazed mug!
Henrik "VanTiki"




Thanks for all the information Henrik! The timeline really helps with my understanding of the process too! Thanks so much for everything. I think 1 & 2 are in the kiln as we speak so I'll have to be choosing glaze colors tomorrow I hope.

[ This Message was edited by: LoriLovesTiki 2012-01-24 11:17 ]


 
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LoriLovesTiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 03, 2011
Posts: 875
From: NJ
Posted: 2012-02-16 11:27 am   Permalink

Update:

This whole mess took a LOT more time than I ever anticipated! Mugs 1 & 2 came out of the kiln for the second time (glaze fire) with some problems, ahem learning discoveries.

1) I am somewhat limited in supplies but beggars can't be choosers. I mistakenly used an underglaze for the outside of the shorter mug I named "Mel." His inside is a royal purple and the outside was a different purple. He's all unglossy (see picture) so I'm glazing him again in wisteria purple.


The first mug's glazing was a labor of love. All his features took me FOREVER to paint. It didn't help that I was doing this on my prep period, was searching our ceramic supplies for the colors I wanted, was trying to avoid the underglazes etc. He came out of the kiln looking kinda cool but he needs some touch ups. The background color was one of those glazes with the flecks in it but I didn't really want flecks and specs so I purposely didn't stir up the stuff in the bottom. And since we didn't have any transparent glazes and the Pearl arts & crafts store near me closed by I tried using a sponge to wipe off the excess glaze so I'd get more around the features and in the carvings. Well.....it didn't come out quite the way I wanted so I'm going to do some more work on him. I was disappointed that the sponge also removed some of the glaze on the edges of the nose, lips, base band etc, but the rookie art teacher who has been letting me crash the art room thinks it give him an aged look.

I'll post more pictures of him when he's done DONE and mug #3 is patiently waiting for his bisque fire. Thanks for looking.
Here's a peek at #3, I made him for my hubby. One day he'll get him as a belated Vday gift.

On another note I got my first tiki farm mug for Valentine's dat (the red cannibal mug) and a couple of tiki martini glases from them too!!!



[ This Message was edited by: LoriLovesTiki 2012-02-16 11:38 ]


 
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danlovestikis
Grand Member (6 years)  

Joined: Jun 17, 2002
Posts: 4794
Posted: 2012-02-16 1:27 pm   Permalink

Hi Lori, this is really fun to watch. I haven't experimented with glazes nearly enough. Be sure to keep a journal of your glazes used and what to did with them like not stirring. The journal will help you in the future. I keep a record on every item I make. It also helps when someone asks for something similar.

I already am wondering how you got the orange and red effect on the eyebrows and forehead. It's beautiful.

MadDogMike does under glaze first. Puts it into water which will show if there are any defects. If there are he adds more under glaze. Then you coat the mug with clear glaze and that seals it in. You just haven't done the last step.

I can tell you have been bitten by the tiki bug. Tiki Farm puts out quality tikis by many talented artists. We have collected many of their mugs.

Enjoy, Wendy


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