Nativity Platters

I like the mentality, better late than never, especially in the case of this post.  I had every intention of posting about these platters before Christmas.  They were completed and everything, but I just never got the chance to get them up on the blog.  They are, however, for sale on my Etsy shop.  I don’t think I actually made any of these last year…maybe just one and it was a special order.  I only made two this year, as they are a lot of work to create.  I was really wanting to make something for the Christmas season a couple of years ago that could be my “holiday design”, but I really didn’t want to go the commercial route or even the holly and berries route.  That is when I came up with the nativity platter.  I wanted to share the story of Jesus birth through carvings that would border the whole rim of a serving platter.  The images around the platter depict Mary and Joseph in the stable with baby Jesus in the manger, stable animals, palm trees and other roughage, shepherds with their sheep and the three wiremen traveling to see the new born King by camel.

It was a long process to create these.  First I drew out my designs to the proper scale that I wanted.  Then, I took those drawings and carved them into rolled out clay tiles.  I let those dry completely then fired them to bisque.  Now having a relief-type carving, I took soft clay and pressed them into the carvings to create my own stamps.  I then let those dry out completely before also firing them to bisque.  With the stamps fired and ready to go, I was then able to use them on my thrown pieces.  I threw my platters on the wheel to about 15″ in diameter with about a 3″ wide rim.  This rim was my stamping pad for the nativity scene.  I then stamped and carved out the whole nativity scene around the entire rim of the platter.  It generally takes a few weeks for these platters to dry out.  After drying they went into the kiln for a bisque firing and then glaze was applied.  Before I coated the platters in glaze, I first painted over the rim in red iron oxide, then waxed over the entire rim.  This gave me the natural rustic look I was wanting for the nativity scene.  Once that was done, I then glazed the center of the platter in crystalline glazes and then fired them for a final time.

These two platters were glazed in copper green crystalline and my newer glaze, “mocha” crystalline.  I really love how they came out, and with such amazing crystal growth as well!  These are awesome for serving up your Christmas dinner or just keep out on display when not in use.

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