finished bumbles for cover

Inside the Monster Factory

June 23, 2017 , In: Ceramic Clay, Clay, Studio
0

Originally I had wanted to follow up on my prior post, Exploring Rochester: Neighborhood of the Arts. Unfortunately, the weather hasn’t been cooperative lately for outdoor explorations.  It’s either been blazing hot or raining.  Instead, I will take you inside my studio and give you a little peek at how my mini monsters are made.

How mini monsters are born

All mini monsters begin their life as a piece of stoneware or porcelain.  After wedging a chunk of clay, I pinch a piece off and roll it into a ball.  From there, I begin shaping each ball into a monster with a variety of tools and my fingers.  

Greenware monsters

I have a few different styles of mini monsters that I make.  Some have rounded bellies or pointy ears or bulbous noses.  Sometimes I start a monster with a specific design in mind but the clay has other ideas and it becomes something different.  

Once I’ve finished sculpting a mini monster, I let them dry for a few days and then I clean them up with a wet sponge. 

Bisque monsters waiting to be glazed

Once the monsters are completely dry, they go through a bisque firing

Tray of glazed monsters

After the bisque firing, I begin the glazing process.  Mini monsters get a black underglaze in their face outlines, hands and belly buttons (yes, some of them have belly buttons). I then glaze each of the whites of their eyes (and tails if they have one) with a tiny brush.  Once the outlines and eyes are done, I select their body colors and apply the glaze. I typically apply 2-3 coats depending on the glaze I’m using. 

Glazed bumble monsters

Loaded kiln

Once all the pieces are glazed, I load them into the kiln.  I have bead racks and bead trees I hang them from.  

Kiln

I turn the kiln on and fire it until it reaches Cone 6, around 2200F.    With this small kiln, it can take 6-9 hours depending on how full it is.  I’m planning on purchasing a larger kiln later this summer so that I can fire more work (both large & small pieces) and be more efficient. 

Greenware figurines

While the kiln is firing, I usually start new pieces.  The other day I was making figurines while the kiln was on. 

Finished bumble monsters

The following day I head back to the studio and unload the kiln.  

Finished mini monsters

It’s a great feeling when everything goes well and all the pieces turn out.  You never know with ceramics.  

And now you know where mini monsters come from! 

 

Diana Ptaszynski

Powered by the magic of all things containing sugar, Diana spends her day making beads out of porcelain and stoneware.  She also enjoys needle-felting, bead embroidery and metalsmithing. A Jersey girl at heart, Diana now resides in Rochester, NY with her husband and three cat children.  You can find Diana in her studio at Made On State, spreading the bead love at Let's Bead in East Rochester or all dressed up at a cosplay event! 
  1. Reply

    I now own about 6 of your little monsters and I ADORE them. I love collecting them!

  2. Reply

    Your pieces make me smile! I admit I don’t have the patience (or the space) for ceramics… I once lost a whole set of dishes to a crashing shelf in the studio.. so watching someone like you and your creative process is amazing to me! Much success to you.

    • Sarajo Wentling
    • June 23, 2017
    Reply

    They are so cute! And I’m happy to know more about where mini monsters come from. I’d always assumed that when a mommy monster and a daddy monster love each other very much… 😉

    • jewelsofsayuri
    • June 23, 2017
    Reply

    Such great story (oops, process of making) , I throughly enjoyed reading it

    • Jackie Mohring
    • June 25, 2017
    Reply

    I love these cuties! Is here a way to purchase them long distance? I would love to start a collection. Thanks so much! Jackie

  3. Reply

    They are so cute…. I love the bumble monsters and the ones with different size eyes. Would love one of my own…. I just popped over to your page to join
    Elaine xx

  4. Reply

    Love the mini monsters, gnomes, kitties and alpacas!! I just have to get one of the gnomes and mini monsters at the next sale.

Leave a Comment