Ceramic Pumpkin Box

When I started ceramics again last fall and was in a luminary phase, I got the idea to make a ceramic Jack-o’-lantern. It’d be much cleaner than an actual pumpkin and could be reused year after year. Since I was working on other projects, I didn’t get around to making my ceramic pumpkin until December, and because of a mess up (that I describe below), it wasn’t ready to take home until January.

I first made the bottom half as a pinch pot. Then I carved the ridges. Unfortunately, I made the lid a bit too small, and by the time I had made it, the bottom half was already too dry to make smaller. (I tried squeezing it in, but it was too late.) Still, it stays on because I had put a ring around the inside. (I’m not sure what that part is called.) After seeing how small my pumpkin was, I thought it would be difficult to carve a face on it, so I left it as a pumpkin and I like it better that way.

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The diameter and height are both approximately 8 cm.

I painted the outside orange with “tangerine” underglaze, and then it went in for the bisque firing. When it was time to glaze it with clear glaze, I was applying wax resist with a brush onto the foot, but wasn’t careful, and a drop of wax resist slid onto the pumpkin where I wanted it glazed. It had to be bisque fired again to burn away the wax; otherwise, that part wouldn’t have gotten any glaze. That delayed it from getting completed earlier, because I had to wait for the next bisque firing, and then the glaze firing after that. However, after that incident, I have been very careful when brushing on wax resist.

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The interior is the natural color of the clay (B-mix) with clear glaze.

I wanted the stem to be green, even though brown would be more accurate. I first dipped the rest of the lid into clear glaze while holding it by the stem, then used my finger to dab in the spots closest to the stem that I had missed. I used a brush to paint the stem with Antique Jade glaze, and I like how the color turned out. (The strange thing is that Antique Jade sometimes looks like a lovely aqua, but I’ve never gotten it to look like that. Later the instructor said it’s a bucket glaze so it shouldn’t be painted, only dipped, but my previous ceramics instructor was open to whatever worked. The truth is, it is harder to brush on a dipping glaze because it is thinner, and I’ve read that you can add gum arabic to thicken it.)

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