I’ve been obsessed lately stocking my NKP BEADS etsy store so I have all but neglected this blog for about a week now. However, all that changed as of yesterday when I got on the wheel and threw an enclosed form to attempt yet another clay whistle.
These are quickly becoming one of my favorite things to make but I’m so apprehensive because they are so easily broken in the creative process. But I must scale that wall and just decide to make another if something breaks. It’s not good to get attached to one’s pottery before it’s even fired.
This morning I cut the enclosed form off the bat and formed a mouthpiece and attached it. Then became surprised when I was able to smooth it and make the form completely round. I suppose that makes sense because I did that on the wheel to the top to make it round. At first when I closed the top it was kinda pointy and then it was flat, but pressing gently on the sides with a rib helped to form it to a round shape.
After it was round, I went outside to play with the puppy and gather some courage to poke holes into it (the whistle, not the puppy!). The puppy is 12 weeks old and adorable. His name is Mister Cuddle Buttons because he’s, well, adorable. He’s a mutt, but I think he’s gonna get really big. After a good time of playing “TUG”, I went back into the studio and he laid down for a nap.
All the books and articles concentrate SO much on that 45 degree angle when making the whistle blow hole. However the reason I had so much trouble for so long getting it to work correctly was because the side of the hole nearest to the mouthpiece also needed to be a 90 degree angle which was completely even with the wall of the mouthpiece AND the wall of the whistle. When I figured that out, my whistles began to work consistently.
I use simple Popsicle sticks to make the holes. Notice that one has been sanded to a 45 degree angle . At first this had more of a baritone sound but I scraped a bit more away to make that 90 degree angle cleaner and I got a much better sound. Next step was to poke holes. I decided upon two holes (because I’m too chicken to make more). One I made bigger than the other. I laced the outsides of each hole with a rope of clay to make each hole easier to find with the fingers.
Decorating it is always a bit daunting. It functions. But it must be pretty, too. There is always the fear that I am going to break it. Those who know me well, know why. Inevitably I’ll drop it. Or smash it. Or pop it. I’m a bit clumsy. I ride a bike for fun and it’s a joke because of how often I fall off. After the vertigo a few years ago, surprisingly, my balance got better. But I’m still somewhat clumsy. That’s just who I am.
I wanted to be able to set it down and have it stand up so I applied legs. This will force me to really be careful because these legs won’t be sturdy until the last glaze fire. However, this will allow me to glaze the entire body and avoid stilt marks.
Now we wait to see if it makes it to completion.