Life cycle of a piece: Sugar Skull Madonna (part two)

Curious about the process of making ceramics? Here’s part two of a multi-part series on how I make a particular piece; my Sugar Skull Madonnas (you can catch up with part one here).

About to clean

Here she is, about to be cleaned. Shown also are the tools which I use for cleaning: a basic cleaning tool for the first stage, a piece of scouring pad, a finer cleaning tool for detail work and tiny places, and a sponge.


During the cleaning process. First I file off the seam molds. Then I rub them with the scouring pad, to get them even more even with the piece. Then I run a sponge over the whole thing to wet it down and clean up any accidental scrapes or the imprint of the scrubby. Then I’ll take another tool and start the whole thing all over again, in case there was something I missed or didn’t get quite even/clean enough.

By the way, I took a four-minute video of this. I don’t talk, all you can hear are the birds outside and the sound of the tools, so if you want to watch it in order to get some instruction, you’re out of luck. But if you want to see what the process is like, go right ahead! I’m thinking about submitting it to This Is Handmade (“if you can’t sit through five minutes of mind-numbingly boring ass handwork, then you don’t get to whine about how much it costs“) but it’s not quite five minutes long so I don’t know if it would meet the criteria. Aw, heck; maybe I’ll send it in anyway!

See? Exciting. YOU WISH YOU HAD MY LIFE. I know I’m pretty happy with it. 🙂


At this point I’ve filed and scrubbed and wiped down with the sponge two or three times, and I deem her ready to be put in the kiln.

About to fire

Kiln-a-licious! Here she is, with all her little friends, ready to fire! And if you follow my photo-of-the-day you’ll know that I actually fired the kiln last Friday, and opened it on Saturday (and am writing this post on Saturday) but it’s not getting published until Monday. Not that I don’t love y’all, but I actually have a few other posts in the pipeline for a change and want to space them all out!

So… there’s part two. For all you know, I’m taking the photos for part three RIGHT NOW! Stay tuned. I’m hoping to have part three up by the end of the week.


  1. Pingback: Wild Iris Books Life cycle of a piece: Sugar Skull Madonna (part three) | Wild Iris Books

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.