The Making of Cobalt Blue Fish Cups

A customer from Etsy ordered a ceramic cup (or possibly more ) from me that was like another cup she had seen listed in my shop but had sold.  She wanted the inside to be no less than 2.5″ wide but no more than 2.75″.  The height was to be 3.5″.  I had never made a cup with particular inside dimensions so it was a challenge for me.

I use number 112 speckled ceramic stoneware clay.  My pottery pieces are all made at the Wallingford Community Arts Center

I have just begun to center clay on the wheel with little or no problems but the end result was usually 3″-4″ wide lump.  I had to relearn how to center as I needed to start out with 5″ or more wide.  I didn’t think I was going to make it.  I started the trial and error process during Monday evening class which seemed noisier than usual.  I was actually wondering if I should call it a night and go home not even half-way through class I was so upset.  I managed to make two cups which weren’t anywhere near the right size which I figured I would make into mugs.

Wednesday, I went to the studio for the afternoon and pushed out three of the right size cups.  In order to get 2.5″ inside I must start out a half inch larger to take into consideration the shrinkage from water loss.

I let them dry for a couple days in the damp box, then trimmed the bottoms and sides.

Tracings of fish
Tracings of fish

I put on a couple coats of cobalt blue engobe then traced the fish.  cobalt blue fish

A little flourish to fill in extra space
A little flourish to fill in extra space

The fish didn’t take up the whole space on the cup so I filled in the extra with a curli-Q.  I have used these many times as I enjoy the way they look.

Starting the carving process.
Starting the carving process.

I put the plastic in the cup, as directed by my teacher, Carol Seymour, to let the bottom dry slowly as I had trimmed too much off the foot.  The pink cloth seen in this pic is my hoodie.  I use it to carve against so that my pieces don’t end up all dented by pushing  against the table.

All bisqued showing the start of the blue color.
All bisqued showing the start of the blue color.

It will transform to a deep blue in a few days after a coat of Opalescent glaze shown below.  It is the cream color coating.

trinket n fish cups 027

These pieces will be food, dishwasher and microwave safe.  Lead free and non-toxic.

Check out my other handmade items at my Etsy shop:

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I have been doing pottery off and on since 1998. It is exciting to see my progress. I took classes 1998-1999. Then in 2003-2004 I had an online jewelry business. Now I am starting again with what makes me the happiest: clay, pottery and ceramics

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