May 9, 2013

From Broke to Baroque: Dolly Parton's Ocarina

For my last pit firing I had created a large bass ocarina from red stoneware clay that I had placed in a mold made from a large river rock. I liked the smooth abstract shape - like a Brancusi sculpture. This ocarina was pieced together in two parts which unfortunately separated in the greenware stage right after I had carefully burnished the surface with rose colored terra
     But since the separation did not affect the mouthpiece I decided to put the two parts back together and route out a grove along the seam line for an inlay. The piece was bisqued at a low temperature then smoke fired in the pit for a subtle surface design. The smoke pattern on this piece turned out well so I glued the two pieces back together and was pleased to find that the ocarina still played - although a bit on the quiet side. Using sand paper and my handy dremel, I evened out and widened the inlay grove and set to work with my inlay. I made a lavish inlay consisting of fresh-water pearls, green stone, gilded glass and glass beads. Not content with that, I riveted out a few more holes and added some pearl cabachons on the surface.
    Rather than use the usual grout - way too plain for pearls - I used irridescent and pearlized acrylic paint, mixing with mica mortars and potter’s pink for the exterior edges. After polishing the ocarina with butcher’s wax and buffing to a satin sheen I set it on my mantel to admire it. A friend who was visiting admired it as well, dubbing the vessel “Dolly Parton’s Ocarina,” for its flamboyant feminity.

1 comment:

lee said...

of course you needed some jewels in the body of the ocarina itself! nothing happens just once in a composition. and dremels are the best tool invented!