Horse Hair Raku Firing

Ben and I bought some raku clay from Blick and created 3 pieces with an emphasis on forms with a strong angle to show off the surface design. To achieve success, we were advised to use the metal rib tool to create super smooth surfaces. We fired them to around 1500 so that they would harden and remain porous to receive the terra sigillata slip coats. The “terra sig” creates a white surface on the pots for the horse hair and sugar to carbonize onto, creating a beautiful high contrast effect.

Next, we fired the pots to cone 04 bisque to get them ready for the raku kiln. We started with two pieces and fired up the propane raku kiln to 1200.

Next, we got our horse hair and sugar ready to apply and shut off the flames. My son, Miciah, lifted the top of the kiln with a hand crank to give access to the pots.


The sugar was sprinkled on to the pots and instantly carbonized into black dots. The horse hair was then applied creating random lines. Sometimes it stuck and carbonized and sometimes it just fell off. So we ended up heating back to temp two more times so we could keep applying the hair and sugar for the desired effect.

It was in the 60’s and a little windy that day, so they cooled down pretty fast.

Then, we washed them off in the sink and lightly rubbed them to remove dust and debris. Next, we used floor paste wax and applied 2 coats to the surface of the pots. Finally, we put a soft buffing wheel on the lathe and buffed the surfaces of the pots to produce a beautiful satin sheen that makes the contrast pop with dimension.



This was our first firing and we are very happy with the results. We can’t wait to do the next batch!!

A big thank you to Jenni Fritzlan, master potter, at Homestead Pottery for her generous help through this process. Treat your self to their inspiring gallery at

Feel free to get in touch with any questions or comments! Thanks for looking! If you like these posts, click the “follow” button for post updates.

Yarn Bowls

Here are some examples of some yarn bowls we are experimenting with. These are used by people who knit to hold there ball of yarn in place while they pull the end string… These will be selling for $35 – $45 depending on the size. We are in the process of experimenting with different types of glazes and glaze techniques.


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Thank you for taking the time to read this. If you enjoy these posts, click the “follow” button to receive notifications of new posts. If you are interested in a yarn bowl, go to and go to the contact page to get in touch…

Christ’s Spirit be very near to you…


Custom Portrait Busts – People and Animals

Custom Sculpture & Sign Company

If you have a loved one or a pet or a coworker that you would like to honor with a permanent, enduring memorial, consider a custom portrait bust. I will work with you one on one using pictures and a sketch to create a life size, believable portrait out of clay and finished with a patina that looks like a bronze casting. A life size portrait starts at $1800 and the price can go up from there depending on design details.Visit my official website and click the “contact” tab to get in touch with me about your project ideas.

A few shots of one of my creations.

A few more of my student works!


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Thanks for…

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Mad Hatter Engagement Ring Holder

Custom Sculpture & Sign Company

One of the mediums to create sculpture is epoxy clay. This clay is used for sculpture and taxidermy and gives you about a 2 hr. work time before it starts to harden. the advantage is it dries to a very durable, hard plastic without the need for a kiln. Once cured it is grindable and sandable and can be added to with more clay.  It is a perfect medium for small, detailed sculptures or prototypes like this mad hatter. This customer, (A soldier in Afghanistan),  sent me a picture of this mad hatter design that has two hats. The large hat comes off to reveal a smaller hat with an engagement ring in it. A clever idea… Here are some pics to show the process.


Once the details were complete, it could be painted with multiple coats of acrylic paint and finished with a clear coat satin spray.


Then, the…

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Sculptural Lamp Base Completed

Custom Sculpture & Sign Company

Last time, I posted what the lamp base looked like before it was fired and with color. Thankfully, the clay fired without any problems and I was ready for painting. First, I watered down some house paint as a gesso and painted all the surfaces to seal them. Next, I used acrylic paints (I borrowed my daughter’s paints) and mixed the colors to match the original. Then I sprayed it with a glossy clear coat and glued some felt to the bottom so it wouldn’t scratch. Finally, I attached the lamp hardware and lampshade and delivered it to the happy customer!

This picture shows my replica on the left and the original on the right….

Thank you for looking at this post. If you would like to have something made, simply contact me by going to my official web site, and click the contact page.

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Custom Portrait Bust from pictures

Custom Sculpture & Sign Company

I have the honor of memorializing this customers father who recently passed. Working from around 10 different pictures of his father, I started with a Styrofoam inside and built up epoxy clay (magic sculpt) on top of that…

raul sketch

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Getting close… The customer asked for a few more adjustments, so here are the changes with those adjustments…


The final step is to apply the finish which looks like cast bronze…

Step 1 – Paint in a black/brown color


Step 2 – Lightly brush in metallic wax


Step 3 – Layer the black/brown color over the metallic wax with a little aqua green for an oxidized look. Photos can’t capture the luminescence of the metallic wax accurately. It looks much better live…


Thanks for looking! If you have a sculpture you would like made, get in touch at If you like these posts, consider “following” this blog to get email notifications…

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Ceramic Sculpture Replica – Girl in Boat

Custom Sculpture & Sign Company

It’s nice to take a break from the wood carving to work in different media. This sculpture was commissioned by a customer who saw this original sculpture in Monaco France and was so touched by it, he had me make him one that he could enjoy in his home.

I started by making the boat out of rigid foam and the girl out of ceramic clay. (Yikes! I look tired and mean in this picture, sorry!)


Next, the foam coat went over the foam to give a hard shell of protection. Then I went over the foam coat with several layers of West System epoxy until it was fairly smooth and uniform… In the meantime, I finished the ceramic girl and let her dry for two weeks and she fired without a problem. You have to construct her with a hollow center, otherwise the clay will be too thick and…

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Custom Clay Sculptures and Custom Mold Making

Custom Sculpture & Sign Company

The master blacksmith from Old School Crafts in Mount Vernon MO ordered these life size chimp molds to use in his foundry. The molds will enable him to create the chimps in bronze using the traditional lost wax technique. Check out his fantastic work at

First, a sketch was drawn up according to his specs…

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Then, some small clay sketches were made to work out the forms…


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Next, the life sized detailed sculptures are built…

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Monkey #2

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Monkey #3

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Next, the silicone mold is applied in multiple layers… Here it is being applied to the architectural base.

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Next, some dams with key marks are made in several areas to allow easier mold release. Then, a resin “mother mold” is applied over the silicone to create a hard, protective and supportive shell for the soft silicone mold. edited-0427 (2)


After many layers are applied and cured, the hardware…

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Wheel thrown stoneware mugs with custom logos – A new adventure!

Custom Sculpture & Sign Company

We are getting ready to launch a new pottery business… this post will show the process of getting the mugs ready for firing…

First, we start with your business’s brand or logo.

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Then the logo is prepped to turn it into a stamp

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Once the stamp has been created, it’s time to throw on the wheel…  The clay is measured out and de-aired in preparation for throwing.


After the mugs are thrown, the handles and thumb rests are pulled and applied…

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Next, the stamps are made and applied…

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Finally, wax resist is painted over the joints to ensure even drying which means no cracks!


These will probably take a week or more to dry so they can be fired in the kiln. The next post will show the glazing process!

Click here to view the glaze results!


At this point, the pricing structure…

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