How to Make a Ceramic Flower Person
Handmade Ceramic Flower People
The body parts
These are all the body parts made just by rolling the clay and shaping. I have used lots of different clays but prefer Parian clay as a finished look.
First I attach the body to the legs..I cross hatch (make stratches) each join and add slip. (Slip is just watered down clay). Then hold down to stick, then smooth the joins with finger.
Then it's arms on..
Then it's head last.. Voila!
Then they get left to dry for several hours. they get fired to 1230c which is a high porcelain bisc firing. Biscuit firing is a name given to the first firing of any pottery/ceramic. Where the clay turns to ceramic. Then they are dipped in glaze and fired to 1100c. Then for on glaze painting you paint them and fire them once more. I am experimenting with both on-glaze and underglaze techniques.
Flower People Sculptures Drying Out
Fired Flower People
Fired flower people. Parian clay is a self glazing type clay and you fire high to 1240C.
Lady with dog sculpture
Parian Flower People
Rose Flower Person
Parian Flower Lady with black underglaze marble effect
Rose Flower Lady
The glazing process
Ceramic glaze is a made up of materials including Feldspar, Ferro,Talc, Whiting, Kaolin and Silica. Coloured glazes have oxides added such as cobalt blue and the oldest and most used colour in early ceramics. Glazes are added for decoration but can also to strengthen the ceramic, or to make it waterproof the piece.
Parian clay is a high fired clay which is self glazing. A slight marble sheen affect can be achieved. The flowers below were painted with underglaze colour before firing.
Latest Flower People
Lilly Flower Person
Poinsettia Flower Person Sculpture
Rose Flower Lady
Flower Lady with Cat and Dog
Artist Flower Person
About the Artist Carolyn Clayton
Art was my first love. At school it was the only thing that I really loved and was good at. I have always been able to draw and make things and was the typical Blue Peter kid ready with my toilet rolls and cereal boxes.
I remember at school desperately waiting for the year when I could enter the pottery room, but my enjoyment was short lived as kids messed around too much, throwing clay around and we were banned.
My mother used to make me home made salt dough in different colours and I would spend all my spare time sculpting with it. You can 'fire' salt dough in an oven or microwave so it would harden.
In my first year of secondary school I created a huge charcoal under water relief which my art teacher told me was 'O' level standard. He told me I should develop my art and go to a London art college.
Being a shy and unconfident child, I was bullied a lot so I couldn’t wait to leave school, so college was the last thing on my mind. I wanted to work, and that's what I did. I never took one gcse. Aged 15 I was out of school, living in a bedsit working as an upholsterist machinist for a small upholstery company.
Around the early 90's I got distinctions in RSA typing, word processing and early computing which led to some admin temping work.
In 1996 I moved from Kent to Shropshire and went to the local college TCAT and took an art acess class. This is where I 'found clay'.
I found I could sculpt well and made a bust and a witch sculpture (see below) amongst other things. The college were impressed and told me I must go to Uni. A couple years later, I decided to do just that and I went to Wolverhampton University and studied Computer Science (another passion) and Ceramics. I was worried I wouldn't find work in the arts so thought I would have a back up plan.
My aim at the time was to work at Madam Tussauds, I had big dreams. I loved everything about uni. Whilst at uni I became a volunteer at Coalport China Museum. I got taught to make china flowers by the old flower demonstrator there. After two days of making roses a couple of visitors asked me how many years I had been working... I replied 2 days.. I guess my apprenticeship is over! This led to an offer of a job as a demonstrator which I still do today but only very occasionally. By the time I had finished my degree I decided IT was the way to go and that became my career.
Thanks to working at the museum, I had an outlet for my art. But it's never been enough though... Only now after years working in IT that I am I finally doing something with this skill. I am determined to make a living waking up everyday and being in my element making, sculpting with clay.
Bust and witch made at TCAT.
Bone China Flower Making
I took to flower making like a dog to water. I knew i could do it before I even tried. I have now probably made thousands over the years.
I developed my skills with bone china and made some unique candle holders. (See below). I have also run flower making classes over the years.
My skills at bone flower making have evolved into the flower people.
Bone china is British invention made out of 50% bone ash, 25% china clay and 25% china stone. Gum Arabic is added to make it sold and malleable.