April 26, 2014

Music from The Scraps of Vessels

When I finish a run of ceramic projects, I typically make small items out of the scraped off debris from the larger vessels. These are usually small sculptures, buttons, or whistles. After my most recent run of lidded vessels, I used the trimmings to make three small ocarinas. I used my one-piece of clay method to make these pod shaped musical instruments. To form them, I started with a simple pinch pot which I then folded an sealed much like a dumpling. The mouthpiece was then pinched off of that. The larger one has a terra sigillata glaze on it. The smaller ones were just burnished natural clay. These were easily slipped inside the other vessels in the pit firing, which produced subtle but likeable changes in the surface design.

Despite their small size, the ocarinas make a big sound. The largest one, at about three inches, still has eight holes and plays over an octave. The next step down is a six hole ocarina, and the smallest makes a shrill piccolo sound from its four tiny holes.

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