Monday, June 2, 2014

Majolica Monday

Linda Applebee on Facebook Mud Buddies posted about the trouble she was having making her whistles whistle.  I'm happy to say that she has now made a very nice ocarina indeed.

This got me to thinking about my own whistles.  A few years ago it was the middle of winter,I was going through non-creative blahs; my studio was more like a refrigerator than a place for working.  To get myself going I set up a little goal.  I moved upstairs and decided I could make whistles as they are small and can be made on a table top. The idea was to make a gang of at least three whistles every week.  I ended up only going through June but a simple project that was not too time intensive was just what I needed.

I did manage on one warmish day to throw a lot of the little closed cone shapes I use for my thrown whistles.  I stored them in Rubbermaid shoe boxes with a layer of damp paper towels in the bottom.  They make little portable damp boxes.

The four examples below are just a few of the people and animals I came up with, ducks, pigs, frogs, turtles, mice were some of the others.  The blow holes are at the bottom front.  If you enlarge the photos you can see what look like spots are really little holes.

The bottoms show the actual whistle hole.  I drill them when the clay is leather hard and trim the hole to a sharp edge.  I then drill the hole, either using a very small drill bit or a pin tool.  It take a little practice to make the air stream hit the edge.  Sometimes I change the angle of the blow hole a bit; sometimes I smooth the clay where the hole comes through.  The idea is to have a clean area that will produce a clear note.  Not for nothing do we say Clean As A Whistle!

Below are a few of the many handbuilt whistles I have made.  It's a thing with me to put the whistle where it becomes part of the animal, or at least does not announce itself as a whistle.  The bear, rabbit and hippo all have their blow holes in their mouths or noses.  The seahorse is the little spot at the base.

 Turn them over and the holes become evident!

And finally a few shoes.  These may be what I enjoy doing most.  The possibilities for shoes is endless.  The Baby Cakes shoe has it's whistle on the heel.  Can you see the blow holes on the other two?

Look at the soles and there they are.  I had a good reason for making the baby shoes have their whistles on the heels.  Of course I have no memory of that reasoning, but I'm assuming it was a good one.

Most of these are done in terra cotta; some are in white; it depended on how I was glazing and decorating them.  Majolica is the perfect medium for lots of color and design.  I think I have posted many of these before, but it has been fun to gather some of them together and look at the various groups.

It's one of our warmest days yet with sunny skies.  This afternoon is definitely pool time!

Enjoy the coming week, and as always, thanks for stopping by...........*s*


  1. What great collectibles. You should do a video one day of them being played, I would love to hear how they sound :-)

  2. Hi Tracey....Thanks. Someday....when I learn how to use my camera's video I'll do a sound post!

  3. Dearest Suzi,
    Lovely whistles you created and you are quite artistic. Also the will power to make some during the cold months of the year. Thank goodness that now you can enjoy your pool and live a bit outdoors.
    Hugs and sunny greetings,

    1. Hi Mariette....Thanks. Little goals help me muddle through!
      Enjoy our long sunny days.

  4. oh what a treat to see your whistles gathered together here each one so unique and I like how you incorporate the hole into the design

    1. Hi Linda....Thanks. My whistle guru was insistent about incorporating the hole into the piece. He only exception was if you were doing an ocarina or other instrument.

  5. I love the shoes and I don't normally care about shoes, clay or otherwise but their is something about yours that I just find really appealing.

    1. Hi Lori....Thanks. I have very mixed feelings about shoes. But making them out of clay is pure enjoyment.


I don't allow anonymous postings, but otherwise talk to me. I love to hear from you.