Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Making The Oak Leaf & Acorn Pendants

I started forming the idea for this month's COM pendant way back in March, while we were still in Oaxaca, Mexico. 
I'd attended a garage sale/art show where I saw this cool necklace made of drilled acorns.  I thought that if I cut the necklace apart, the acorns would make cute earrings and could be accents in other jewelry. The necklace was only three dollars so I snapped it right up!  The necklace led to thoughts about incorporating a dimensional acorn shape into a ceramic oak leaf pendant.
I tried impressing a real oak leaf into the clay, but it didn't leave a deep enough impression for what I had in mind.  So I drew an oak leaf on scratch foam (Kristi wrote about scratch foam here, if you'd like to learn more).  I cut the foam out in the shape I wanted the pendants to be and then glued a cork on the back to use as a handle to press into the clay.
After making the oak leaf impressions, I cut them out, using a fettling knife. 
I made a silicone mold of one of the Oaxacan acorns. Then I attached the molded clay acorns to the leaf pendants and added the little wire loops. The wire is made of a special metal that won't melt in the extreme heat of the kiln.
I let the clay dry for about 24 hours and then used a damp sponge to smooth any rough spots and to round the edges. The pendants were then fired in the kiln to about 1915 F (1046 C).
After the pendants were fired, I glazed them in rich autumn colors.  I wanted deeply saturated fall colors, so sometimes I mixed 2-3 commercial colors together in order to arrive at the exact palette I was looking for.  All the pendants received 2-3 coats of glaze; front and back. 
 The colors always look so pale and chalky before they are fired.  The heat transforms them and it is always a thrill to see what they look like after the second firing!
Once the glaze was dry, the pendants were carefully hung from rods in the kiln.  If any of the glazed pieces are touching, they will fuse together during  firing.  
The kiln was then reassembled, enclosing the pendants and they were again fired; this time to 2185 F (1196 C).
The result?  Take a look!  Two of these pendants are available in my shop now, with more coming later this month.


  1. You came up with a really good idea of how to accomplish the look you wanted. Congrats! Scratch foam will be on my list of materials to try. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Glad I could help you find a new material for your designs!

  2. Linda these are beautiful introductions to Fall 2015!!


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