Finish the outer edge by stretching outwards, and compressing
and smoothing the lip with a chamois.
Use one finger to open a hole in the middle, stopping
short of the bottom. Pull the middle holder
part taller and thinner.
To help make a good fit for a candle, make a sizing
tool by wrapping several thicknesses of masking tape as smoothly as possible
around the stub of a candle. This will increase the diameter of the
candle, helping to make the size right after the pottery shrinks. (Some
experimentation may be necessary.) When the wheel is stopped, put
the end of the candle in the holder to assess the size, and adjust the
holder if necessary.
After the proper size is achieved, collar in about 1 inch
below the top to make a stopper for the candle.
That’s the basic candle holder. Here are two fun variations: the candle ring and the candle arch.
The candle ring can have multiple holders placed on them. I have made them with four for Advent candle rings, and even with a dozen holders for the 12 days of Christmas. Here’s the basic idea:
After centering about 2 pounds of clay, poke a hole in the middle to the bottom, and pull out a ring. It helps to press downwards as you pull out, or it may easily become detached from the bat.
When the ring is about 8-10 inches in diameter, push down to make a trough with one finger.
Set the ring aside while making the candle cups.
These are the top parts of the basic candle
holder, which can be best made off the hump.
Form the part as illustrated, and cut off with a needle
tool, leaving a flared flange for attaching
to the ring. Repeat for as many as you’d like on the ring.
To make a candle arch, proceed to pull out a ring as previously
shown. Instead of pushing down
to make a U-shaped trough, push in from the outside to make a C-shaped trough.
Trim the bottom of the shape so that it is symmetrical to the top. Some of this can be done while
still freshly thrown on the wheel (arch2.jpg). At the same time as you make the arch, make
some basic candle holders to go with it.
When the arch form is leather hard, turn it over and finish trimming to make it symmetrical. Any
area which has been trimmed may have open pores, and should be sealed with throwing slurry.
To make two identical candle arches, cut the ring in half.
I use a spackling knife to make a
straight cut, but any knife will do. You can make a single high candle arch by only cutting a
little off the arch (you may wish to attach it to a slab to make it less tippy). You could even use
the whole ring, and coil build or throw a stable foot for it.
To attach the arch to the candle holders, score and slip
them well and attach them with firm
pressure. Some clay may be added at the junctions to strengthen the bond. These will be
extremely fragile when dry, but they will become more durable with the bisque and when the
glaze helps form a tight bond.
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