The Process of Making Ceramic Shoes

Posted by on Jul 25, 2014 in Daily Activities, Pottery Decoration | Comments Off on The Process of Making Ceramic Shoes

The Process of Making Ceramic Shoes

Browsing through antique collector’s items always makes me nostalgic. The intricate designs and clever workmanship of the items leaves me stunned, especially, when I see the ceramic items. Ceramic is one of the most earliest forms used by humans and it still holds its allure in this technologically driven world.

I came upon a ceramic shoe in the shop and it caught my attention. The shoe looked real and very appealing. The out of box thinking in the creation had me wondering about the making. This spurred me on to know more about how these shoes are made. And I even tried them myself. I used Athletic Crossfit shoes as model for the ceramic shoes.

To start with, you need to create paper templates of all the parts of the shoe like the tongue, heel, sides, toe, sole etc. This will help in creating an exact replica of the shoe you use as model.

The creative process

You need to have the necessary tools ready at hand, before you start on the ceramic work. Scissors, rolling pin, slab roller, wooden tools, a clay cutting knife, sponge, pin tool, flexible rib and a miter tool or one with 45 degree bevel are needed.

•             Now start with a ball of clay. The clay needs to be rolled into a consistently thick slab using the roller.

•             Using the templates you have made, cut the shapes in the slab and store them in plastic wraps.

•             When the cut pieces of clay are stiff, but flexible enough to mold or in other words leather hard, you can start making the form of the shoe.

•             A process called score and slip is used. The areas that are to be fused should be scratched and with a bit of slip, which is actually clay of watery consistency, glued together so the individual parts are held tight.

•             The seams should be smoothed to get a good finish. Adding details when the clay is soft will give the shoe a more authentic and beautiful look.

Firing the shoe

Once the shoe is created with all find details included in it, it should be allowed to dry in a covered plastic bag with a small hole for air to circulate and dry it. This takes several days and when the shoe is fully dry (it is called Bone dry) it is bisque fired to get the water out completely and also to give it a solid shape.

When the shoe makes it out of the firing step intact without any blow-up, crack or breaks, you can add the regular or underglaze to give the required color. Once this is done the shoe is returned to the kiln to go through a second firing step, which is called glaze firing. Now it gets the final glossy and shiny look.

If you are wondering about the uses of the shoe, it can be used as planter, container, for holding a wine bottle, with a lamp as lighter or even as just a decorative piece in your living room shelf.