Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Making Votive Dishes with Biscuit Cutters

This is the way I make little votive dishes. There are probably better ways but I like the way these turn out still looking sort of rustic but symmetrical.

I use Seattle Pottery's CKK6 Cone 6 porcelain. You will need - some slippy water (starring here in one of Ceci Capen's lovely speckly yunomi), a set of biscuit cutters - the largest 4 inch size and the two next smaller sizes, a small sponge that will fit inside the biscuit cutters, stamps for making designs if you want them, tools for slipping, scoring and cleanup. I make my slabs for this 1/4 inch thick.
Stuff you need to do stuff that I do.

Cut out your 4 inch circles from your slab.
C is for cookie, that's good enough for me! 
Stamp your piece, clean up and compress the edges with your fingertip to stop any splitting in the clay.
This fishie is one of the first bisque stamps I ever made.
Now decide if you want a shallow or a slightly deeper dish - for the shallow one, select the biscuit cutter that is one size smaller, for a deeper one, go 2 sizes down. Now align the flat piece over the cutter and use the slightly dampened sponge to push the clay evenly down into the cutter.
Okay, it looks a bit of a pig's ear but I got better after this!
Push the dish out using the sponge. Make sure you push the bottom to a nonstick surface so it sits well as it dries. Wipe the biscuit cutter clean each time you make a new dish because it will become sticky!

Work that sponge!

Let the clay set up for a while - in the case of my clay it was about 15 minutes, during which I made more dishes and lined them up. Once it is less floppy, clean it up and add any edge decoration.

...meet hungry otter

So I made more - you can see the difference between the horse dish on the left and the one on the right - the horse one used a cutter 2 sizes down.

and I fired them

and put votive candles in one

And here's the otter with his fishie -

The end results are about 3 inches in diameter and about a half inch deep. They fit votive candles perfectly, but of course they are perfect for all sorts of trinkets, tea bags etc!