Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Obsessed with Clay Whistles

I've uploaded these whistles which I call "Bead Whistles" to my flickr page.  When you get there, you can click on each whistle to get a closer view.  These are all approx. 40  mm in length, and started off with a 20 mm ball of clay.

 Each whistle has its own voice.  Some can be blown with just a mild exhale of air, others require a definite puff, and most are somewhat in between, but all make sound.

These look great on a ribbon or a leather cord.  I have about 20 more that I'm currently glazing and hopefully will put in the kiln over the weekend.  We'll see.  Until then, enjoy looking at these.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Glazed Clay Bead Whistles

I have been busy lately, and not just making these bead whistles. Late June, I participated in a workshop learning Apache Pottery. I worked with micaceous clay for the first time and helped build the bonfire which fired the pots we coiled. Early July, I sold lots and lots of pendants, beads, whistles, and other pottery at the Texas Pottery and Sculpture Guild's show. Mid-month there was a whirlwind trip to Santa Fe where we walked downtown peering into all the shops at wonderful Native American Indian pottery before paddling in kayaks down one of the rivers near Taos. The river was shallow and slow but it was a lot of fun.

By the time we returned home I was ready to relax with clay. I spent the next week creating small bead whistles. I formed 20 mm rounds, cut each in half, hollowed them out, put them back together, added the mouthpieces and the pieces needed to hang a cord through. Then I put in the holes needed to make a whistle sound. Last, I decorated each one with sprigs of clay which I textured to look like leafs and other things. I fired this batch to bisque temperature, then spent the next couple of days glazing.

Here is one of these small whistles which I took out of the small kiln yesterday morning. It is 42 mm from tip to tip with a width of 24 mm. The hole is 3 mm.

When I want to make a bigger whistle I form two small pinch pots and put them together.  But these extra small ones work best by hollowing a small bead of clay, hence the name 'bead whistles'.