If getting your hands dirty does not scare you one single bit, then try making this groovy little cow. This little thing is so groovy that you can jive with it later.
Just follow the instructions to make your own globe cow. I used red terracotta clay to make it, but you can use any clay to make the same. I have also given specific instructions if you are planing to use terracotta. Lets start!
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Step 1: You Will Need
Clay (Red terracotta clay 500 gms)
Some old newspaper
Some plastic (to cover the clay)
An old tumbler
An old brush (optional you can use your finger too)
A small thin tool to make the details (I found this this lying in the house)
A serving spoon
A bottle lid (to cut the top hole)
Step 2: Make the Slurry
The slurry is required to smoothen the cracks, and to join different parts neatly. To make he slurry take a small amount of water and dissolve some clay in it completely, you will have to mash the clay into the water. When it is done the slurry would look slightly thicker than water.
Terracotta drys very fast hence these tips would be useful while working with it:
1) Always keep the excess clay covered in plastic when not in use. Dry clay is very difficult to work with hence don't forget to cover it.
2) Surface cracks will start developing with the heat from your hand, to fill these cracks take some slurry in your finger and rub it over the crack to completely remove it, apply a little force if required. Don't wait to fill the cracks later, keep filling them as they develop. We don't want them drying that way.
Step 3: Make Two Hemispheres
To make the sphere we will make two hemispheres and join them later. To make the first hemisphere take a small lump of clay, the quantity should be such that it feels perfect within the palm. Roll the lump into a ball. Now insert both your thumbs in the centre of the ball to make a small cavity. Using your fingers and thumbs gently press around the sides. Continue this until you get something which looks like a small bowl with uniform wall thickness. Keep filling the cracks as the develop. At this point the hemisphere may look more like a ellipse but that is fine, we will work on the shape later. This technique is called pinching.
Make two such hemispheres.
Step 4: Join the Hemispheres
To join both the hemispheres take the blade and make a hatching pattern (criss crossing lines) of the top of both of them. Apply some slurry on the top edge of both the spheres. To retain the shape of the sphere after closing take a roll of some old newspaper which is approximately the same size as the sphere and keep it inside of one hemisphere. The newspaper will be required to provide support till it has dried, once we fire the clay the paper will burn out. Now keep the other sphere on top of it and press it to close, you may have to apply some pressure on the sides to close it completely.
Step 5: Merge the Two
The sphere is made but it is not closed yet, it will open up if left like this. To completely close it we will have to merge the two together. To do this roll a coil in between your palm and the surface of your work-desk as shown in the images. Now apply some slurry on the joint and press the coil into the joining line around the whole sphere. Take some slurry and with your finger merge the coil completely into the surface of the sphere. Apply little force if you have to, but make the joint disappear completely. Now the sphere is securely closed but does it look like a sphere yet?
Step 6: Bring It to Shape
Your sphere may not look like a sphere yet, but do not worry we will now bring it to shape. Take the spoon and with its convex side shape the sphere but hitting it lightly. With one hand take your sphere and hold it at your eye level and with the other shape it with the spoon. Rotate it all around and shape it from each side. Now it should start looking like a sphere.
Step 7: Make the Face
Now to convert the sphere into your groovy cow you will have to attach a face to it. To make the face:
Roll a small ball and shape it like a face. I have shaped mine like a flat trapezium.
Take two small lumps of clay and shape them like small cones
Make flat ellipses and pinch one side with your fingers.
Join them all together:
For any kind of joinery hatch the surface, apply some slurry and then merge the parts together. Using this join technique (hatch-slurry-merge) to join the horns and ears to complete the face. I also gave its chin a cleft using a thin stick.
Step 8: Make the Hooves and the Bottom
I gave my cow some hooves as well. To make the hooves take a small lump of clay and then press one end of it with your thumb to make it flat. Make the other side slightly triangular and give it a small line in the centre. Make four such hooves. Now join them on the sphere's bottom using the hatch-slurry-merge technique. Pierce a hole on the bottom of the sphere to let hot air out during firing.
Step 9: Join the Face
Mark where you want to join the face to the sphere, then use the hatch-slurry-merge technique to join it. You can give it a small neck as well before attaching.
Step 10: The Top Hole
I wanted to make my cow into a plater hence I cut a hole on it top. Take any lid of appropriate size to cut the hole and then clean the edges using your finger and slurry. You can now decorate it as you want, I gave my cow some war wounds to make it more groovy. It is ready when you are!
Let the clay dry completely under shade. Once its dry it will not feel cool on touching. After it is dry you can rub off some surface imperfections using a sand paper. Then fire it at the appropriate temperature, for my clay it is around a 1000 °C, check your clay instructions to know your firing temperature. Such high temperatures can not be reached at home hence I took it out and got it fired in an electrical kiln.
Step 11: My Little Groovy Cow!
One it is fired the clay changes its colour slightly to become more orangish. Firing makes it stronger and water proof. Once done I filled it with some soil and planted a small plant in it. It is quite simple and fun to make! Go ahead and give it a try.
See more work on my blog. Happy making :)