One of the joys of running a small production pottery is that I can take time out from my regular work to try something new. I received a request from a prominent candle company to create an unusual luminary. 

I decided to try to re-create the romance of firelight seen through the windows of a very old building. Having recently returned from Italy, it seemed a natural to try some Tuscan Luminaries. Not only will this be a relaxing change of clay, but  I can play with textures and oxides for a while.

Here are the slabs cut from templates, ready for doors and windows.


I made all my own stamps to provide unusual textured surfaces, creating doors and windows.They are made with clay, plaster, liquid latex, hot glue or found objects.

I work the designs into super soft clay. Depending on the humidity conditions in the studio, I may have to let the slabs dry a bit before I can assemble them. 

I prefer movement in the houses, so I join the pieces while they are still fairly soft. I score the edges and use slip made from the clay to join.

Each house is unique and sports its own special personality. It takes about three days for the houses to dry. I can dry them fairly quickly since I am using my own blend of paper clay.

Paper clay adds a lot of green strength, so they can withstand the manipulation I do before the first firing. 

Before the first firing, I paint the roofs with Red Iron Oxide and the body of the house with a generous wash of Redart Terra Sigillata.

Here are some finished pieces.

Garden Art 

The Tall Piazza Home is 16" high. The Smaller Villa is 9" high.

Here they are in a garden setting.

Garden art

For more options and information on coloring clay, look at the WORKSHOP pages of my site to find a class near you. If there isn't one, consider recommending my workshops to an Arts Center in your area.

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