Sunday, March 21, 2010

It's a Wrap

Here's the first of a series of boxes I plan to make. My original sketch calls for black clay with a symmetrical white band incorporating a handle. Before I start using my precious black clay again, I thought I'd make a few practice boxes with the last of the sculpture clay.

Not sure if you can tell but the box is raised off the tabletop by the width of the wrapping. Since the wrapping is off to the left side I put a hidden piece of clay on the bottom of the right side to keep the box level. I made the box as a whole and then cut the lid off, the way I've seen Tracey Broome make boxes.

After I made the box I wondered what it would look like with the front seam covered, so I cut a piece of oblong clay and Gary held it up for the photo. I'll let the piece dry and I can epoxy it on after firing. I figured there was too much leverage to get it to stay put now. Which do you like better - the seam showing or hidden?

Making boxes is good practice for me to improve my hand building techniques. This box is slightly wonky, or wabi sabi. That's the beauty of handmade I think. I'd like to make a box with a gallery that holds the lid, um how to do that?

I'm off to find some tape to hold the box together while it dries, so it won't warp. I learned this tip from Judy Shreve. Comments and suggestions are welcome.


  1. lov the boxes...can;t wait for pics on your new studio!

  2. thanks Mary, I didn't want to jinx it by posting photos before we actually close. How's real estate in Colorado going?

  3. always having fun... i think i like the idea of the hidden seam which might provide a little surprise for the viewer

  4. Love the box ideas -can't wait to see how you envision the glaze or second firing :o) I'm sure it will be something totally creative!

  5. Have you tried using coils for the gallery? I know another way, but the lid would be on the top of the box and it's hard to explain. Maybe I can do a post on it for you and take some pics. I can't take credit for it, Po Wen taught me!

  6. Ooooh. Make the box and then cut off the top. Love that tip. Also, beloved black clay. I bought 25 lbs. on the internet and paid more for the shipping than the clay and I can't figure out how to work with it. It's a much wetter clay and it doesn't take glaze at all. hmmmmm. I like the hidden seam, by the way.

  7. Hi Jim, thanks, I have two pieces of clay for hidden seams drying one for the front and one for the back, hope they don't get broken.

    Hi Cindy, thanks, for this one I could probably barrel fire it and then add the hidden seams. I guess that's where making multiples would come in then I'd have more choices for each one. Couple more weeks now and I'll be doing that.

    Hi Tracey, thanks, I never tried a coil for a gallery I may have to try that. I made another one with a square slightly smaller than the lid but like you said the lid is close to the top. A post would be great, it's getting to the point now where I can't take credit for anything I do, I learn so much from everyone, it's getting hard to remember who I learned it from.

    Hi Cindy, thanks, I cut off the top and it worked. That's what I like about the black clay, that is soft, just don't overwork it, if it starts to stretch, let it dry out and bit and then start again on the piece and don't fire over Cone 4, glaze doesn't work well at all with it as it has lots of minerals that want to come out through the glaze, use a very thin amount or none at all and fire extremely slowly. Good luck.

  8. How timely! I was just researching on how to make a box and deal with the mechanics of the lid. Since I work fairly thin (in porcelain) my concern was warping if I made the pieces separately. I'm going to try your method of making it whole, then cutting off the top. With porcelain, you never know what will happen in the end. Maybe I'll make the first one in stoneware. I really like your box design.

  9. Hi Sue, thanks so much. If you look at the Cinderella Vase in my next post, it's made with half and half clay (half porcelain and half stoneware). I made the vase very thin, you can see the top is slightly distorted due to the impressing of the pasta (which was fine with me for this piece), but it remained firm to the end and went almost to cone 11.

    I have another box I just made and others coming along. See Tracey's blog on how she constructed her box and also try using a paint roller with a clean roller to help prop up the clay form till it dries, this really helps with the softer clays. Good luck, look forward to seeing what you come up with.


I love suggestions, questions, critiques, thanks for your comment