Wednesday, September 5, 2012

How the $6 dragon pendant rewards are made

            I like to share my making process with those who are interested, so this is a post about how I'm planning to make the $6.00 rewards for the Kickstarter project.
            This is my sketch for the dragon pendants:

            You may be wondering how it is that I am willing to offer such detailed work for only $6.00. Part of the reason is that this is my Kickstarter project, so my prices are somewhat reduced from usual. However, the main reason is that I will be making and using a mold to create the dragon pendants, rather than carving out hundreds of scales on each individual pendant.
            The mold is a press mold. The way this works is that I carve out the shape I want, either from clay or from plaster. This includes the basic shape of the dragon, as well as all the texture that I want on its surface, and this step takes a while. (I have already begun this part.) I am using clay for this particular mold, as I have a lot of it here and it's easy for me to use. Also this mold is small - if I wanted to make a large mold I would use plaster. Once I am done with the carving, I will bisque fire the mold. This will let the clay remain porous so that it will absorb water, but it will not fall apart. Think of the texture of a terracotta flowerpot. That is what bisqued clay is like. (In fact, that's basically what those flowerpots are, but I digress...)
            Once the mold has been bisque fired, I can use it! I will take a little patty of clay and press it into the mold. There it will take on the shape of the carved area of the mold. I will let it rest in the mold for a few minutes so that the surface dries a bit. This makes it easier to remove. When it is ready, I will gently pull it out and lay it flat on a board to dry. Ta-da! A beautiful dragon, which is thin, light, and as detailed as I made my mold.
            In theory I could glaze these and make them many colors. Glazing something small like this and doing it well takes testing and some practicing, so for the purposes of the Kickstarter project I will only be glazing the eyes of the dragons. Glazing the entire piece is an idea for the future. However, I am offering a choice of either porcelain, which is bright white, or red clay, which will be this color:

            I love the look of bare clay, and often I find the idea of covering up all the marks I lovingly made in the surface of a piece disappointing. A bare clay surface can be just as refined and beautiful as one that is glazed, and I can hardly wait to see the first of these pendants come out of the kiln. You're going to love them!

1 comment:

  1. Sounds fun :D Can't wait to see how they turn out!