CLAY KNOTWORK POT HOLDERS
This is a relatively easy home decorating technique. You can use this as pot pads on the Sabbat feast table. Here are the items you will need:
1 - Bucket of self (non-firing) drying clay. (Purchased at any craft store)
1 - Design of knotwork or other pattern you desire.
1 - sheet of wax paper
1- Rolling pin used to evenly flatten the clay.
1- Set of desired paints, or acrylic varnish
1 - Cutting tool used to make the strips of clay.
1- Small bowl of water
DIRECTIONS: First decide on a design that you would like and is appropriate to your beliefs, particular tradition or culture. Print out on your computer or blow up to desired size by photocopier. Try not to make the design too intricate. Rollout clay to a thickness of 1/4" or 2mm. Slice clay into workable strips. Place the wax paper on top of the design. Work the clay around the design on top of the wax paper layer. Dip your fingers lightly into the water should your clay begin to crack or start drying to quickly. Once you have completed your design, let stand for two hours.
Once you have your designed traced and have let it dry for at least two hours. Now you need to make the "legs" of the holder. Rollout some clay about 1/4 thick or 2mm in diameter and about 1/2" or 6mm tall. Create as many legs as you think your design requires to hold a full pot or cauldron without tipping or being lopsided. Gently pick up your design and remove the wax paper back. Gently replace the design on it's back and begin to fit the legs. Wet the tip of the legs with a bit of water and roll your finger on top of it until a good 'goo' is created... not too wet, but can withstand adhering to the design pretty much on its own. While you are making the 'goo' press your finger into the end slightly in order to widen the tip a little more. This will help support it better when you attach it to the design. Look at your cauldron or other warmers for guidance... the legs are usually a little wider where it meets base. Let it dry with legs in the air (Wahoo!) -- (About 4-5 hours for a really good dry, or even overnight.)
Once all is dried, now is a good time to look at it to see if you need to do a little sanding. Using a mild sandpaper, or a disposable nail file (use the white side, not the brown side if using a nail file, the brown side is too coarse), file down the rough spots. Now is the time to paint. Depending on what type of clay you bought, check the instructions for what type of paints go best with that clay. Most can take any type of paint. If you decide to paint it or leave it in its natural colour, you should always put a coat of varnish or glaze on it to give it strength. A good acrylic or latex based is always a good choice. Oils have a tendancy to turn colour under heat, so if you will be using this constantly as a pot warmer... then, I would suggest sticking with latex. Do at least 3 coats of varnish, let each coat dry before putting on the next.
Viola! There you have a nice added piece to your kitchen or dining room. You may even choose to hang some of these on the wall. Good luck.