How to Make a Clay Sweet Potato Ocarina
In this tutorial I will show the method I use to construct an ocarina using ceramic clay. This is the type of clay that must be fired in a kiln to be hardened permanently. If you have never done pottery or used ceramic clay before, read this page. The book "The Potter's Primer" by Morgen Hall is an excellent resource for people new to working with ceramic clay. Ceramic clay is very different from polymer clay in how it is worked.
Tools and Materials
Most of the tools used are pictured on the right.
||In this second list of tools, some will have to be made special. The remaining can probably be found in your kitchen.|
(9) "Slot sticks" are used to make the airway in the mouthpiece. The ones I use are thin strips of metal that I had cut at a sheet metal shop. They measure 4 inches long and are varying widths. The ones pictured are 3/8, 1/2, and 5/8 inches wide. I added strips of masking tape to make them thicker.
(10) Frosting knife or any flattened tool such as a paint stirring stick (used to paddle the clay)
(11) Knife without a serrated edge
(12) Short pieces of wooden dowels with tapered ends. These are optional, and are used to "round" the finger holes
(13) Two pieces of each of wooden dowel, 12-18 inches long. (not pictured) The diameter varies - this ocaarina used 1/4 inch diameter dowels. Larger ocarinas need thicker dowels, smaller ocarinas, a smaller diameter dowel. These are used as spacers for rolling out a clay slab of even thickness.
(14) Drill bits, assorted sizes. These are very handy for cutting the finger holes
(15) Round pencil, not with angled sides (not pictured) to wrap clay around to make the mouthpiece
(16) Rolling pin (not pictured)
(17) Bowl of water to moisten the fingers (not pictured)
(18) Spray bottle of water (not pictured)
(19) Plastic bags (not pictured) for storing the ocarina-in-progress. Produce bags from the market work fine.
(20) Paper towels (not pictured)
(21) Moist ceramic clay. Smooth or lightly sanded works best. (not pictured)
(22) Clay slip made with the same clay you are using to build the ocarina.
(23) Access to a kiln that will fire pottery (many ceramic supply stores will fire pottery for a fee).
Introduction and Tools 1 | Forming the Body 2 3 | 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 | Plaster Ocarina Mold | Clay Ocarina Mold | Make an Ocarina using a Clay Mold | Make an Ocarina Without a Mold | Glaze a Ceramic Ocarina | Glaze a Dragon Ocarina
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