11.26.2011

Oregon Love Ornaments

More ornaments? Well... yes!

Since I'm not going home to be with my parents in Oregon for Christmas this year, I decided to bring a little Oregon to my tree:


Aren't they cute?! I'll explain more about each of these below. They are pictured on our Christmas tree!! Imagine me squealing those words, because that would be a more accurate representation of how excited I am about our Christmas tree. It's apartment-sized and awesome (that's why the ornaments look so big on it... they're only about 3 inches wide by 2 inches tall). We'll probably post about the tree tomorrow once we're all finished decorating it. I just put these guys on there to take a picture--don't worry, I'm not going to hang all the Oregons right next to each other... that would be weird.

Touchy Oregonian side note:
A few of my students looked at these ornaments on my desk while they were drying this week and asked what they were. I gave them tons of hints and they still couldn't think of Oregon. And I'm talking really obvious hints. I went from "it's a state" to "on the west coast" to "there are only three states on the west coast, can you name any of them?" to "ok... I know you learned about this last year, there's a trail that pioneers went on in the 1800's, in covered wagons, with oxen, it's a computer game, too: 'I tried to ford the river but my oxen died'..." I mean really? I went into even more detail on the Oregon trail thing, and I thought it was pretty obvious at that point, but maybe I'm biased since I obviously know a lot about Oregon. But still! Am I expecting too much? Maybe I'm just touchy about the whole Oregon thing out here because most people on the east coast seem to think it is pronounced Ore-gone (rhymes with "pawn") instead of Oregon (rhymes with "dragon"). Or apparently some of them just don't know it exists at all. Booo. Anyway, moving on...


As an art teacher, I have access to the art room facilities on my own time, which is pretty awesome. We have a kiln, so I get to play with clay!

This is how I made my lovely little Oregon ornaments:


It was a lot like making cookies. First I rolled out a nice thin slab of clay. Then I decided free-handing it would probably be a bad idea, so I printed out a map of Oregon in the size I wanted, and cut it out to use as a stencil.


Traced around the shape with a needle tool, then...


Cut it out with a knife tool. I smoothed out the edges with my fingers and some slip (water + clay).


I poked holes in the top for hanging, and kept making more...


...


... until...


I had a ton! And by "a ton" I mean seven. At that point I was just tired of cutting them out, and it was starting to get dark outside. I cut hearts out of the center of a few to show just how much I love Oregon... and to look something like the sticker I have on my car:

buy your own here!

Once they were fired, I used a number of different glazing techniques. They're not all done yet, but here are a few that are:


This was pretty hard to photograph because it's quite subtle, but it's one of my favorites in person. I used wax resist to paint a heart, then put clear glaze everywhere else. The wax resist melts off and vaporizes in the kiln, but it doesn't let the glaze stick wherever it was, so I'm left with a glossy white surface with a matte white heart in the middle. For some reason the glossy area doesn't look shiny in these pictures, but I swear it's just as shiny as this green one:


For this one I just used a bright, fresh green gloss glaze on the front and back, leaving the sides (including inside the heart) matte white (the natural clay color).


This one is just natural and nice. Didn't do a thing, but the fired white clay looks great on its own!

I'm not planning on listing these on Etsy, but I could totally make any state, and these would be a great present for anyone with some state pride. It takes about a week to make since the clay has to dry and be fired (twice or three times if they're glazed, depending on the type of glaze). Point is, if anyone out there is interested in purchasing a pretty little state ornament of their own, that could definitely be arranged at a very reasonable price, and you should leave a comment or send me an email and we'll talk!

Are you as proud of your home state as I am? I think I kindof freak out Chris with my intense Oregon love...

Linked to hi sugarplum! and Bower Power

6 comments:

  1. Hmmmm, maybe I'll hang a couple of mittens on the tree to represent michigan's lower penninsula. My kids used to play the Oregon Trail game and I finally told them to quit taking me on the trip because I was sick of dying of various disasters along the way.

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  2. @ Kristen - Mittens sound like such a cute idea! And I totally feel your pain on the Oregon trail game death situation. I can't count the times I died from dysentery or snake bites playing that game as a kid.

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  3. Ah I love it!! Native Oregonian here, and I am so obsessed with anything in the shape of our fine state. Found you through Hi Sugarplums link party, and I am oh-so jealous you have access to the tools to make this! So cute! Wanna send me one for our tree ; ) Great job!

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  4. @Lo - yay Oregonians! I drive Chris crazy with my Oregon obsession, but he just doesn't understand what we Oregonians know :)

    I am very lucky to have my art room. It's great for making Christmas presents!

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  5. That's a really cool idea to make ornaments in the shape of a state. Can you make one in the shape of California? How would that work as an ornament, do you think?

    ~Lisha

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  6. The good old Beaver State! LOVE these! You are so lucky you have access to a kiln :)

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