Sonntag, 24. Dezember 2017

Merry Christmas!

Dear readers,
I wish you all a Merry Christmas!
Here in Vienna it is very sunny and when I went to my garden in the morning I discovered some blooms. Enjoy!


Sonntag, 17. Dezember 2017

DIY terracotta pots

Dear readers,
in a recent post I shared some pictures of my self-made terracotta pots and Hetty from the blog asked me for a tutorial. And yes, dear Hetty, I am very happy to do a tutorial about how I make my own flower pots. I have been doing ceramics for about ten years now. I loved working with clay at school and when I was about 15 I bought my own kiln. Especially since I had my own garden, I have made a lot for my garden. I love looking for beautiful pots at pinterest, google and like to do similar ones for my garden. I also feel very inspired by Whichford Pottery in England. I have never been there, but on their homepage you find lovely designed pots with flower motives.
As I don´t have a potter´s wheel, I use another technique for creating my pots. In this post I´d like to show you this technique and who knows, maybe some of you will create their own garden containers soon. For people, who have not worked with clay before, you need to know that there are different types of clay, some more suitable for doing planters than others. If you would like to do your own pots I thus advice you to ask for a suitable clay type at a clay shop or studio. Clay needs to be fired in a kiln. If not fired it breaks extremely easily and would get damaged if in contact with water. Thus, you need to fire the clay in a kiln-there is no way around it. Your usual kitchen oven will not be suitable for firing the clay as the temperatures in there are too low as depending on the variety, clay needs to get fired at at least 900 degrees celcius. If you don´t have a kiln, you can bring your self- made pots to a clay studio for firing. Having said that, I´d like to start with the tutorial. I tried to take pictures of most of the working steps. I hope you can follow and have fun doing your own garden pots! If you have any questions, please don´t hesitate to ask.    
Good luck!


 Step 1: Prepare your tools
 You need following:

  • clay
  • a pot (can be plastic or terracotta) (you should like its size and form as it will be the model for the pot you´re going to make)
  • a knife
  • a rolling pin
  • a wood skewer
  • a plastic bag
  • some cling wrap
  • some water

Step 2: Wrap the cling wrap around the pot you´ve chosen for replicating.

Step 3: Once your pot is fully wrapped, take the rolling pin and roll the clay. The rolled out piece should be big enough to wrap it around your pot and should be about 0,5 cm to 1 cm thick. (You might cover your working table with a plastic bag as the clay will not stick to the plastic bag, but might stick to the table.)

Step 4: Now, wrap the clay around your pot.

 Step 5: Cut excess away and blend the clay ends into each other.

Step 6: Turn your pot so that it stands on its top. Now you´re going to make the bottom of your pot.     For that form a clay ball and roll it to a small `pizza`. Take your `pizza` and make a bottom. Blend the clay parts together.

Step 7: This step is optional. You might take the knife and make a hole in the bottom of the pot for drainage.

Step 8: Turn the pot around and....what a lovely pot! Though, it looks a bit boring, don´t you think? So, let´s go on and see some ways to decorate your pot.

I´d like to show you two ways in which you could decorate your pot. The two designs will look like this:

Design 1: Thinly roll out some clay and cut thin stripes with your knife. Press the stripes onto your pot and slightly blend them into the pot, so that they will hold together. If you also want to decorate the top edge of your pot you can form a ´clay sausage´, roll it out a bit, and press it onto your pot.

Design 2:  Take a wood skewer and draw a rose into the pot. Then take your clay and form some leaves, branches and press it onto the drawing. Don´t forget to blend together at the ends, otherwise it might not hold and fall down. Then take your skewer again and draw the veins of the leaves and also draw the flower and the thorns. As with design 1, you might decorate the top edge of the pot.

An alternative to these two designs are moulds. By pressing your clay into moulds you can produce decorative ornaments for your pots very easily.

Step 9: Having shown you two different designs, we will finish our pot now.
Take out your model pot from your self made pot. This might be a bit tricky. By now the clay will     have hardened off a bit, but if you´re not careful it will get deformed. Thus, be very patient and gentle with your pot. Once the pot is out of the pot, you might blend together the top decoration with the pot. Now is also the time where you can use some water to make surfaces smoother. You might also draw in your initials.

Step 10: Admiring your self-made pot! Let the pot dry for about a week and then fire it in your kiln and if you don´t have one carefully transport the pot to a clay studio or to someone whose got a kiln.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. Finally, I will show you some pots I have done over the years. Hopefully, they will inspire you!






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