A Few Totems

 
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.

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