I've created so many stoneware sea urchin cabochons lately because they were in high demand when I returned from the bead cruise. They had been featured in Beverly Herman's "Star of the Sea" workshop and the ladies had asked for more. So I thought I'd share an inside peek at how these pieces are made...
All cabochons start their life from a block of brown stoneware.
I cut a piece of clay from the block and wedge it for proper consistency and to remove air pockets.
The clay is then rolled into a slab. I use a simple wooden rolling pin for this.
I cut the cabochons from the slab and then smooth the edges. They are then set aside for awhile.
Another piece of clay is cut and wedged then I remove a small piece and roll it into a ball. The small decorative urchin element is created from a mold I made of an antique button.
The little ball of clay is pressed into the mold, removed and then set aside.
The cabochons are then left to dry for a couple of days.
Once the cabochons are completely dry, they are put into my small kiln and bisque fired. I unload them the next day and apply an oxide to the decorative urchin element. The oxide is applied by brushing it on and then wiping the excess with a wet sponge.
After the oxide is applied, each piece is glazed. I typically apply 2-3 layers of glaze.
Once I have enough work to fill the kiln, I load all the pieces and fire to Cone 6. The pieces are unloaded the next day and then inspected for any flaws. I then spend a day photographing, editing and writing drafts for my shop.
And there you have it! That's what it takes to make a sea urchin cabochon!