Here’s my first group of stoneware totems, including three bears on the left, a weasel in the middle, a hare in the back, a fox on the right, and a seal in the front right. You can see their size by comparing them to the container of Chapstick. Stoneware is a ceramic clay, and I fired these pieces to cone 6, or about 2185 degrees F. The pieces are all different kinds of stoneware. The beautiful black is Cassius Basaltic. It’s dark chocolate-y brown in its unfired state, then turns black with the heat.
To finish them, I’ll wax them then wrap objects around them, totem-style. I’ve actually finished the fox, black bear, and seal. But they’re at a show and I forgot to take photos of them before I took them in. The embellishments on the black bear include an elaborate beaded tassel and a few other beads. The seal has a drilled sea stone, drilled seaglass, and some stones. The fox has stones and little chicken feathers. I think the fox is my favorite.
I burnished the seal before I fired her. Burnishing is rubbing the leather-hard greenware with a flat metal surface like a burnisher or the back of a spoon. The rubbing aligns the tiny particles in the clay and gives a beautiful shiny surface. The rest of the pieces are textured with tiny all-over marks to resemble fur.