Halloween is in the air here at Alexandria Clay Coop and ceramic pumpkins and jack o'lanterns are the name of the game. Once you create a closed form, shaping it into this staple of the season is a natural progression. Check out below for our step by step process. Thank you to Leslie Manning, Birgitta Feinberg, Becca Leisch and Rachel Witt-Callahan for the photos of your work!
Start with a basic cylinder or slightly bulbous vase shape. Then begin collaring in the top. Don't rush this step, a little at a time is the way to go.
Keep collaring until the form closes. Make sure you get a really good seal on the top so that the bubble of air is trapped inside the piece.
Once you have trapped the bubble of air inside your pot, you can now shape the piece into a squatter pumpkin like form.
Allow the form to dry until it is safe to handle. I let mine get almost to the leather hard stage before cutting it off the bat and trimming the bottom to round out the shape. You can then take a rib, I like to use a wooden rib for this step, and roll it vertically along perimeter to create the pumpkin's segments. I then took a wet sponge and reinforced the shape of the segments.
Now it is time to add the pumpkin stem and to cut out the face. One of the best parts of this project is deciding what kind of character your jack o'lantern is going to be.
Once your stem and face are complete you can either cut around the top or a hole in the bottom so that you have access to insert a votive candle to the finished product.
Take a sponge to the newly cut areas to clean up any rough pieces. You can also tool the stems to give them a little more texture and realism.
Bisque then glaze and you'll have a new host of characters to grace your Halloween table!