Sunday, March 16, 2014

Some Pig(s)! (It was written on the Web, get it?)

I still can't believe how quickly it happened. A couple came by my vendor table at a local art show (Big Bang Bazaar in Maitland, FL) and stopped to look at my work. I had all my Star Wars pigs and piggy banks out and after looking at a few of them, the couple asked me if I'd be able to make an Alice in Wonderland piggy bank. It was just the icing on the cake when I found out that I'd be making some piggies for Ashley Eckstein! If you don't know who Ashley is, then you need to look her up. Ashley was working on turning her dining room into the tea party from Disney's Alice in Wonderland and they wanted to give her something special that she could use in that awesome room. (It was all I could do not to fangirl-out right there. I also may have had a goofy grin on my face the rest of the weekend).

Here is the process I use to turn pigs into something special.

 I always start with pencil. It burns off in the kiln and gives you a guide to paint by. It also rubs off very easily and can be changed by wiping the design with your hand or an eraser. I find mechanical pencil works best because it stays the same thickness as it is used instead of getting duller and wider.

Since I was doing a Disney version of the characters, I wanted to include some Mad Tea Party elements in my design without making it too complicated. Of course I had to include the Cheshire Cat, and I knew exactly where he belonged! I used the tail on the biggest pig as his tail to give him a little bit of a 3-D look.


The three characters were the Ecksteins' idea and we decided to make Alice the largest pig, the Mad Hatter in the middle, and the March Hare on top. Plus, it helped add to the surprised look I gave Alice that they were on top of her!

It took between 20-40 hours to draw and paint the pig stack. I lost track somewhere in there. The glaze is a little paler than when it gets fired. It looks a little different than it will when it's out of the kiln.


 I wanted the design to be cute without being too complicated. I added the un-birthday cake, the dormouse in his teapot, and a stack of tea pots and cups on the other side.
One of the hardest things about glazing ceramics is actually choosing the colors. They don't look the same when fired and not all colors are available as glazes. I try to choose the closest colors or improvise a little by mixing a couple of colors if I need if I need a closer match.
 I also included a little surprise underneath!

And the finished product:










As a special bonus, the Ecksteins also wanted me to make a small Ahsoka Tano piggy, since Ashley is the voice of Ahsoka in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. I absolutely love her character and the series. She is one of the best female characters in any Sci Fi series. Ahsoka was just as much fun to paint, but took less than 10 hours to finish. Just like the Alice trio, I started her with pencil. Somehow I managed not to get a shot of her before I started painting. Here she is fully painted.
 Again, the colors are different when the glaze is dry, but not fired.
 Her costume was a little tricky to figure out, which I why I used this particular costume design instead of the midriff-baring one you often see in shots from the show.



 And another surprise message on the bottom. :)
 If you are a fan of the show, my little message will make a lot more sense.
And (drum roll please) the finished product:


 I hope you enjoyed this peek into my ceramic making process. These are the kind of pieces I love creating. If you're interested in your own custom piggy or something special, hit up my Etsy shop.