Tag Archives: terra cotta

DIY projects using terra cotta clay pots

Terra cotta pots are saucers are inexpensive, come in a huge range of sizes and have many zippy uses. The humble clay pot can be used to make music, with birdwatching, as a cake plate and a homemade gift kit. What follows are hand-picked sites that show how to make cool things that won’t break your budget or tax your time schedule. Have fun!

“Garden Implements Music” — Seeing these musical pots near the fountain in the forest setting instantly relaxed me and I can only imagine how neat they’d be in real life!

Clay Pot Birdfeeder — Simple feeder, elegant feeder, easy project.

Mosaic Clay Pot Birdbath — A lovely creation from Michaels Craft Store. Could change and adapt many ways…

Clay Pot Cupcake Stand — Beautiful in its simplicity and highly original.

Mini Plant Kit — There’s no reason we can’t make this up ourselves for gifts… It would require pot and saucer, bag of dirt inside in ziplock bag, ribbon and embellishment, and seed packet.

Gone to Pot — A multitude of ideas from about.com, one of my favorite sites.

Moss Pots — One of my all-time favorites that I’ve used many a time…creates a lovely aged look, an instant Tuscany garden!

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Open Studio Update, 4-5-11

Things clicked along pretty smoothly today. I did take a green tea break at one point, as I found myself tired out. It tasted good and perked me up. Lifting things in and out of the damp room and expending brain power on tricky projects = break time. Later, we went out for lunch. Gary wasn’t in the studio today. We all missed him, but he showed up near the end of our lunch, so there was a nice bit of continuity.

"Girl with a Tea Cup," by Harold Gilman

Update: Formed the lid to the bird house. It’s a low, wide cone and, at present, is resting on yellow foam rubber with wadded newspapers underneath. The rolled out slab was too damp and it cracked. The cracks are now filled with clay. Fingers crossed. Paper clay RX if that doesn’t work. Glazed the oil lamps. I can’t wait to experience the soft, golden light of an olive oil lamp. Ovid said, “The lamp burns bright when wick and oil are clean.” On another note, I am waiting for a Happiness Engineer from WordPress to transfer the contents of this site to another. It is supposed to be a seamless process. In the meantime, I am trying to learn about SSL and IP. I will continue to cram until they get in touch. If I have a shop front through Etsy.com, I may not need the SSL. Also, I am considering whether I need a dedicated IP address…and I am now looking at HostGator, too, since there are more hosting services to choose from for this swap out.

"Sunrise," Terra Cotta with Shino glaze

PLANS: I took my ‘Trees’ mold to the studio to today, intending to make some more tiles, but ran out of time. Therefore, I brought white clay home and will make about eight more tiles this week. Even though they are made from the same mold, none of them truly look alike, as I vary the treatment with each one. Am rather partial to ‘Trees.’  The new ones I make will be thinner, less heavy. Several years ago, I made a small tile, a reproduction of the famed rose designed by Dard Hunter in the mid-1900s. I thought of molding the tile I’d made, but decided it’s sub-par. I am going to carve another, fire, and mold it. I adore this stylized rose and want to see it with more finishes. In addition, I am going to mold something else that has taken some consideration, as it is personal. But it is so lovely, I want to share it. My “Sunrise” tile was made for our cottage, Sunrise Cottage, and the name for both comes from an exquisite silent movie filmed by German filmmaker Murnau, who was noted for expressionist cinema. Below is a photo of our cottage in the snow….

Our home, Sunrise Cottage

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Tilted Clay Pot Garden

We had a rare bit of sun today, so I sped outside and cleared pots and beds in preparation for planting. After cleaning up some perennials and amending the soil in the raised bed, I planted some early red potatoes, Norlands. Will have to do more tomorrow while the weather’s clear. That’s the thing about living in a temperate rain forest…. We live in cottage on a hill and 90% of our land is in its natural state, understory…mainly salmonberry bushes, ferns, and trees. I have a small growing area and no lawn, so I rely on containers quite a bit. If you are also short on gardening space, consider going vertical with a tilted clay pot garden, also known as a tipsy garden. This clever way of creating a garden with a small footprint is made of angled flower pots. Today, I decided I am going to be making one and am passing on the directions in case you’d like one, too. Here’s a lovely example of a finished tipsy garden. I’ll post a photo of mine later in the season.

Before you begin,  choose where you want your tilted garden to be located. Determine the amount of sunlight you will need and plan accordingly. To make your garden here are the materials you’ll need:

  • Four terra-cotta pots (same size or graduated)
  • Potting soil
  • 65″ length of rebar
  • Mallet or hammer
  • Plants

Your piece of rebar must be long enough to drive it into the ground two feet with plenty left over to thread through the pots. So, the number of pots you need will be determined by the length of rebar. Take a good look at this photo before you begin.

  • Place your pots in order according to size, if graduated.
  • Drive rebar into the ground with hammer or mallet.
  • Thread each pot onto the rebar through the hole in the bottom of each pot.
  • Except for the bottom one, which remains upright, tilt the pots in opposite directions, to distribute weight, resting the bottom of each on the pot edge below it.
  • Fill with moistened soil, starting with the bottom pot, leaving an inch and a half space at the top of each pot.
  • Tamp down soil.
  • Plant and fertilize with your choice of flowers, strawberries, container veggies, herbs, or succulents.

Note: If you live in an area with freezing winters, you will have to dismantle and store the pots each year to prevent cracking. The alternative is to used pots that are glazed inside and out. Good luck!

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Open Studio Report, 3-29

STUDIO: It felt so good to be back in the studio again after a week’s down time because of a sore throat. I missed my projects and the conviviality of my studio mates. At this point, I am officially behind on my bird house and may miss spring nesting this year. If that happens, it’s okay, as it will still look nice hanging from our wide-leaf maple tree, but I’d rather it be done and up. Also, after I started undoing the wrappings on my project, I remembered I hadn’t looked up the dimensions for the hole in the bird house. Skipped that step and made the ball-shaped knobs that will go on the bottom and top and repaired a crack with homemade paper clay, slip and tissue bits. Think I’ll bring the project home and work on it over the week, as time is of the essence. On Tuesday, I also started experimented with draping and folding some terra-cotta. Rigged a temporary mold of odds and ends and worked with  a 1/8″ thick terra-cotta sheet, but even that was too thick. Now, I must investigate techniques for increasing malleability and rolling out very, very thin….

Bisquing: I finally placed my wheat tile and oil lamps on the Cone 6 firing shelves, so next week I can make a mold of the tile and start drying it. Maybe, just maybe I’ll make the mold this week. Ge a jump on it…

Plans: I liked the effect of white underglaze with Shino over it, so think that is what I’ll do when I glaze the original wheat tile next week…will look golden and beautiful with the wheat motif. Also, I’m going to start making smaller, thinner tiles, ones that will dry faster and cost less to mail. Beforehand, I will start developing some more Arts & Crafts motifs. Time, time, I am going to start dividing my time differently: working at home more. The focus of Open Studio time will change, be devoted more to things I cannot do at home: using the slab roller, glazing and firing. I want to pick up the pace a bit and I love working at home, so I look forward to these changes.

HOME: Today, I made three ‘trees’ tiles and a slew of brown sugar medallions. At least one of the tiles will become a “Snowfall,” but I’m not sure about the others. It’s spring after all! For the medallions, I used Cathy Camley’s suggestion for forming a nice rounded edge: place plastic over the clay, then push a cutter down over the plastic and the rolled clay. Works very well!

Plans: I also booted up etsy.com and will sign up for it after I finish this post. I am considering either joining a team or forming one. More on that later, but first I’ll join on my own. This week, I engaged WordPress‘ Happiness Engineers for a guided transfer from .com to .org. I had so wanted to go with Laughing Squid for a hosted service because it’s an indie that supports the arts. However, I am not a techie, it’s not a WP option for a transfer, so must forego it. Instead, I am going with Blue Host, which has an A rating with the Better Business Bureau. I am also ordering my greenhouse kit today, so am very excited about that. That got me thinking about clay garden markers, but one thing at a time….

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