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July 2021 - Summer Sculpture Workshop


The process of making these creepy birds started with the creation of a couple of maquettes which tests  a variety of poses and different techniques.  I was concerned that the disintegrated surface effect i was after ( especially the wings) was going to be the biggest challenge.  My first and second  maquette, i used a small extruder to create strings of clay to act as wing feathers.    Although ok, i was looking for something which looked more like individual feathers.   Ended up hand coiling the wing feathers and attaching one at a time.     I don't recommend this for anyone who is in a hurry.

I used a serrated rib to create texture for the body.   I ended up keeping and firing  the 2 maquettes and the final bird.  

Surface Treatment / Glazing

Each of the maquettes and the final bird were given an iron oxide wash , then sponged off in areas to highlight the feather patterns and textured surface.  No other  glaze was applied.

Bisque Firing
Creepy Bird Vessel Lid

All birds were bisque fired to cone 07 in a gas kiln at Eversfield Ceramics.  A separate clay body stand was created for the two larger birds to keep the feathers from touching the kiln shelf.  The smaller bird was placed on a small piece of kiln fibre to protect from damage and any oxide sticking to the kiln shelf.

Final Firing

All birds were fired to cone 10 reduction.  The same stands and kiln fibre were used to keep the feathers from touching the kiln shelf.

Materials Used

Eversfield throwing mix.  Cone 10 stoneware

Firing Materials

No additional firing materials were used.


The final results were quite effective.  I ended up building a separate vessel lid to support the larger maquette.  This lid had a clay branch and two bird feet. The lid was glazed with the matt black glaze and the tree branch was coated with iron oxide and sponged.  The lid was fired to cone 10 reduction. The bird was attached by drilling two holes into the bird and inserting and gluing the feet from the lid.   It is quite delicate and in future would include feet or some perching method/prop into the actual bird sculpture before firing.


Things to explore and change include:   1.  Larger bird, firing in obvara, using a metallic glaze and stabilizing the feathers more so they don't break so easily.    Breakage was a problem and I had to glue a couple of feathers back onto the final bird.  

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