I have always been open to making custom orders, I prefer them to be in my ballpark but if the idea intrigues me and I have the time, well I’m a sucker for a challenge, and it’s a perfect excuse to try something new. Experimentation being the soul of creativity.
I recently received two commission orders for matching dog food and water bowls, so I documented the process for both. Each order was unique, as is each dog. As I put this post together I realize I didn’t take any pictures of the forming process. I will update with pics of my next 3-D dog dish……. but meanwhile
One customer wanted an extreme slow food dish with the raised center to be an English Bulldog face and his name on the outside, “McKensington”. I asked for pictures because if you’re doing a face you may as well be specific with the markings. I thought he would be older…
I was completely smitten when I saw the pictures of little McKensington and I was determined to make him a bowl he could grow into. My first task was to draw a face. I did this by looking at clip art and photos of English Bulldogs and making a drawing that would fit into the proposed bowl. After making my drawing in my sketchbook to size, I traced it onto another sheet of paper that I cut out and cut along some of the lines in the face. I also needed a name for both the food and water bowl so I made a template with cutouts.
After throwing the bowl, I used the paper face to cut it out of the bottom of the bowl. When cutting I always angle the cut so the piece will drop out of the bottom and sit inside overlapping along the edges. I attached the cut out face onto the bottom of the bowl by scoring and slipping the two pieces together being careful to retain all of the detail. I then used the paper to add the lines and markings on the face. All of this was done on soft clay, after the bisque firing the lines were “set in stone”.
glazing the face and looking at the drawing with markings
At the last minute, I did a modicum of research, little pink noses usually turn into black noses. A quick e-mail confirmed, “Yes please go black”.
That’s right I made two, got a dog named McKensington?
The glazing process included several “Stroke and Coat” glazes from Mayco. When I do my detail work, the lines that I carved into the face allow me to contain colors. I then wax the glazed parts and dip into an overall glaze. In this case the over all glaze was to be “Sea Green Pearl” from Columbus Clay Co. http://www.columbusclay.com/
the water bowl only had a name, solid green inside
The second custom dog food and water bowl order was for little Peppa Jane, she’s a little older than McKensington but just as cute!!
Oh so adorable Peppa Jane, this is the bowl that inspired this custom order. I was requested to add the name Peppa onto the pig in a food and water bowl.
I made the bowls much like the ones before but the pig is only slightly raised, a medium slow feeder. I made the pigs so they could face each other, or not.
bisque fired food and water
I was halfway through the process when I realized that I didn’t have enough of the old brown glaze to cover two bowls. I usually use brown glazes for accents on my Greenmen and Twig Teapots and don’t keep a large bucketful, so I bought more of the glaze and did some tests. It didn’t go well as they had changed the formula. After much fretting I asked the customer if she’d be happy with another background color. She liked blue, blue is grand, I had more than one to choose from and we settled on the cobalt blue. The pig is glazed with Stroke & Coat “Cheeky Pinky” the name Peppa was carved and filled in with Stroke & Coat “Bluebeard”. This was covered with wax and the rest of the bowls were dipped into my big bucket of “Ultramarine” blue from Columbus Clay.
The tail is a 3-D curl of clay with gobs of glaze to keep it easy to clean. I hope to update this post with pictures of the bowls “in action”. You can see where the two dips into the blue glaze overlapped to create a wide dark blue line. I position my dip to make this overlap make sense in the overall design ie a horizon line.