Lizard log candle holder

My material arts final

Posted by Andrew Pun on August 6, 2020

My final project for my material arts class was to create anything out of clay and underglaze. I made a candle holder in the shape of a log, with a gecko climbing on it. At the bottom, there’s a little compartment to hold matches or spare candles.

Front. Back.

I started the shape of the log using the same coil technique I used for my mug, except I actually covered the top after. I made two cylinders: one tall one and one stubby one, both with the same diameter, and I stacked them on top of each other. I then cut various holes into the log so that the light can shine through. The little compartment was built into the bottom, so I also had to cut out a hole for that. I then made the cylinder misshapen to more resemble a log.

Here's the little compartment.

When the log was soft leather hard, I began making the details. The fungi are just little half discs that I scored and added onto the sides of the log. The little branch stumps were made by pressing clay onto my thumb and scoring the bottom of them, which were also added to the log. Wherever I put a stump or fungi on the log was also scored and dampened with some water using a paint brush.

Before firing. I actually like the colours before it was fired. You can see that I tried painting on some green underglaze to give it the appearance of moss, but that didn't really show up after being fired.

I made the lizard out of clay, which was probably the hardest part, and scored the bottom of it and added it to the log. I scored the surface of the log as well. I repeatedly poked the lizard with the end of a pen tube to give the appearance of scales.

Before adding underglaze. There are also no scales.

I used a skewer to draw the bark on the log and branches. This was the most fun part. I also used a razor to cut out chunks of the log near the top and bottom. Then I made a bunch of circular marks at the top and bottom of the log to make it look like rings on a stump. The areas around the holes in the log were kept smooth.

Before adding underglaze. I like how the branches turned out.

After the clay was bone dry, I painted it using underglaze. Only the insides and the bottom were not coated with glaze. Then it was fired in the kiln.

Right before firing.

And then I was done. Turned out pretty good. I haven’t actually used it yet because I don’t have any candles. Maybe I will try to use it some day.

After firing. It's kinda cute. This is a good example of how underglaze colour looks way different before and after being put in a kiln.