How to Make a Sweet Potato Ocarina out of clay, instructions on how to make a ceramic 10 finger hole ocarina...

Ocarinas - clay whistle flutes, sweet potato. Ceramic musical instruments.

Ocarinas by K. Dunster

How to Make a Clay Sweet Potato Ocarina

Page Two

Making the Ocarina Body without a mold

When making an ocarina, start by forming the body. This is the hollow "resonating chamber" of the ocarina. The size determines whether the ocarina will be low or high pitched. The larger the interior of the body, the lower the ocarina will sound.

There are several ways of building a hollow clay form, such pinching, coiling, soft slab, throwing on the potters' wheel, or using a drape or slump mold. In this tutorial, I will show three forming methods: 1) using a plaster slump mold, 2) using a clay "hump" or "drape" mold, and 3) using a soft clay slab with a paper pattern (shown below on this page).

If you would rather make the ocarina body by pinching, coiling, or on the potters' wheel, that's fine. You may skip the next three pages and go directly to making the mouthpiece.
Whatever forming method you choose, be sure to make a flattened area. This is where the mouthpiece will be attached.

(Click on pictures for a larger view)
pottery handbuilding-rolling out the clay

Roll out the clay using an ordinary rolling pin. To get a uniform thickness, use wood dowels (tool #13) as spacers. This is a "poor man's slab roller."

handbuilding pottery-soft clay slab 2

I prefer to use a paper pattern that I made. I found that this is the easiest way to get a symmetrical clay cut-out.
However, if you would rather, the clay may be cut freehand.

handbuilding pottery soft slab cutting 2

Use a needle tool (#6) or fettling knife (#4) to cut the clay around the pattern.

handbuilding pottery soft slab beveling edges 1

Bevel one half of the "butterfly" shaped slab. The strip of clay that is cut off will be triangular.

trimming clay

The clay should look like this. Only half of the slab is beveled. (black arrows) The end of the slab is not beveled. (white arrow)

Next: Forming the Body - continued >>

Introduction and Tools 1 | Forming the Body 2 3 3a | Making the Mouthpiece 4 5 6 | Position Mouthpiece-Cut Voicing 7 8 9 10 11 | Finger Holes 12 13 14 | Align Mouthpiece 15 16 | Adjust Voicing Size 17 | Attach Mouthpiece 18 19 | Tuning 20 | Assembling the Body 21 22 | Tidying up the Ocarina-Finishing 23 24 25 26 27 | Clay Ocarina Mold | Make an Ocarina using a Clay Mold | Plaster Ocarina Mold | Make an Ocarina using a Plaster Mold | Glaze a Ceramic Ocarina | Glaze a Dragon Ocarina

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All rights reserved © JR or K Dunster, 2001-2005

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