Saturday, March 22, 2008

Ponsawan Bottles of Hope

Hi Everyone,

Yesterday I dinked around with clay pretty much all day. I started playing with Bottles of Hope fashioned after Ponsawan's design which you can see here. These are a lot of fun to make and can come together pretty quickly. I'm still playing with the technique.

So far I use two different circle cutters for the base. One happens to coincidentally match the diameter of the bottle and then the other one is just slightly wider. I put the smaller circle of clay against the bottle bottom and then the larger circle of clay beneath that. That forms a nice lip to wrap the base canes around. I bake the two bottles separately (one thing you don't see in the photos is that I stamp the top and bottom with the words "love" and "hope").

Once they're baked I fill them with small pre-baked cane circles and then wrap the centre piece with more clay. I fill in the area beneath the lip of the bottle with a bit of clay to give it more support. I'm still working on perfecting the centre piece. One thing I've been worried about is if the air in the bottles will expand and cause the centre piece to bubble out or explode. So I've been putting air holes in the centres. You can see it in the happy face one.

For the small cane circles, if I have enough of the cane I'll reduce it to about 1/8 of an inch or so, bake it, then slice it while it's warm. You can see the bright blue bits in the bottles, those are the letter canes that I did a long time ago that spell out the word "hope".

I have a hard time finishing edges - when I try to make them disappear I often make it look worse by smearing the edges. I now tend to leave them in and let them be part of the quirkiness of the bottle. For bigger projects I tend to be fussier.

Ponsawan is going through an incredibly rough time at the moment. These bottles will be going to cancer patients who are also going through rough times. I hope that Ponsawan can get a small measure of peace knowing that her ideas are helping others even as she needs to focus all her energy on her daughter's recovery.



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