• Karen Markgraf

Sneak Peek at the April Spring Planter Workshop Part 1

Last night was a really spectacular night in the studio at the Bryn Du Art Center! Participants came together to create spring planters as well as relax and socialize with new acquaintances! Halfway through tea was served and all were in good spirits! I wanted to share my gallery of pics to give you all an idea of what goes on during one of these makeitmonday workshops!

This month we used handbuilding techniques to construct a window tray with three square planters. These will be the perfect size for adorable little succulents or an indoor herb garden!

First we got rolling and made all of the slabs we would need for the entire project. This was a total of 4 slabs- one for the tray and one for each planter. Next was the fun part that everyone always seems to enjoy the most- applying textures to the slab for the tray using stamps or collected objects. Last night we all seemed to like the designer texture stamps by Mayco. They were just the right size and easy to use for this project! The trays were finished using one of the most instantly gratifying methods of slab forming ever invented- push foam! The slab is laid down on a thick piece of upholstery foam. The form is lined up and placed on top of the slab and then you firmly push down- forcing the form and the slab into the foam. And voila! You have a beautifully formed tray in about 5 seconds! The textures survive the push and add energy to the tray! There are some pics of this process included below. You have to hit up the tray with a heat gun before removing the form to stiffen it up so it keeps it shape.

The planters were made from one square piece of clay. The shape is cut from a template, the edges are bevelled, scored and slipped, and then the cut slab is draped over a square form. In this case I used wooden building blocks taped together for the form and covered with paper to keep the clay from sticking. All you have to do is bend the slab over the form and join the edges together. Once it is cleaned up you can apply texture if desired. A square foot is added and a hole is punched in the bottom for drainage.

This project is super easy but it is a lot of work to complete in a short workshop setting. However, the atmosphere is casual, we play good music and the participants really enjoy the process and the results! Everyone has varying degrees of experience but overall, most have not touched clay since their school days.

In 2 weeks we will come back and glaze the bisque fired planter sets. To top it all off, once the planters are completely finished we will meet up somewhere like a park and plant them with baby succulents or herb seeds. I love that last part when I give everyone their finished creations and they get to enjoy them right away. Clay really has a way of bringing people and communities together.

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