Making Oyster Salt and Pepper

A while ago I was talking to my sister who was visiting at the Cape, about making salt cellars. I had been wheel throwing them, and they were adorable, but time consuming for such a small item. When she came back from a walk with my other sister, she handed me a shell, actually two connected shells and said “ Here’s your salt and pepper idea “

So, the first thing I needed was a bunch of molds which I made from real shells. It was a chore eating the oysters to get them, but we managed. 

Once they were finished and fired, I had to figure out the best way to make the shells and connect them. I started with a slab of clay which I compressed with a rib, cut oyster-ish shapes, and pressed them into my molds. With some trial and error, I got a little better at the sizing and thickness of the clay.

After they set for a bit and get stiffer, I can remove them from the mold to trim and carve the shells.  Even though I try to make the clay thin, it still needs a little less clay. That is ok though because this step allows me to make the inside of the shell look more realistic.

Now it’s time to match them up. Somehow this always works out (unless you make an odd number of shells😁 ) Then score and slip, dry slowly, and bisque fire.  After the first firing in the kiln, I glaze and fire a final time. 

The end result, I am quite happy with!