I’m lucky enough to have family that encourages me in my clay obsession. One aunt always buys my ornaments and this year I got her name in the family Christmas gift draw. She requested ornaments, in deep reds and greens. To me, that says Poinsettias!
So I start with some basic glass ornaments that I got in the post-Xmas sales last year. Cover them liberally with black marbled with gold, bake. It may sound dark for holiday gifts but it makes a dramatic background and the baked base layer means I stick fingers through the whole deal less often.
Then I take three canes I whipped up based on my shaded leaf cane – one is a deep, dark red (Alizarin Crimson), one is a lighter, pinker red (Alizarin with white) and a pretty dark green (sea green darkened a bit). All are blended to slightly paler tints of themselves and the leaves are veined with gold. The fourth is just a flower center cane in greens, yellows and whites.
I decided that these ornaments would have raised detail – my hands are chapped enough right now from the weather and other sanding, that I couldn’t stomach the idea of sanding another half dozen ornaments! This gives me a bit of room to be creative, so I slice a lot of thin leaves onto my wax paper. Thin because even though the design will be raised, I don’t want it raised too much.
By making my designs on wax paper first, I can arrange my flowers the way I like, brush a little TLS on my ornament bases, then slide a flower onto that spot. Trim away where needed and voila, poinsettia covered ornies! I’m detailing the edges and veins of the poinsettia’s bracts to give it detail for when I antique it next but this also helps to stick everything down nicely. I bake on a rack I made myself for large items like ornaments.
After baking, I do sand off the worst of the ridges and tool marks. Then, using a stain based on suggestions from Sarajane Helm, a combination of Varathane and burnt umber paint, I antique the details on the balls and quickly brush off. The end result is a sculpted look poinsettia ornament.