Thursday, February 13, 2014


Inspired by these pigeons roosting on an old billboard frame, I jumped into mold making and pit firing a flock of my own. Pigeons are one of those creatures that people seem to love or hate.  When I lived in New York City people referred to them as "rats with wings."  After sculpting several out of Plasticine I made press molds and molded 19 pigeons.

So far in my work with clay, figuring out how to finish the pieces has been the greatest challenge. Glazing is a vast area with seemingly zillions of options but for the pigeons I really wanted them to have the soft, sooty look you get with pit fired ceramics.

I built a pit in my backyard using cinder blocks then had some fun collecting horse manure, shavings, banana peels, corn husks, coffee grounds, and kindling for the fire. A couple of sheets of metal made a cover for the smoking and the adventure began.

Pigeons ready to be covered with coffee grounds, banana peels, corn cobs, and leaves.

Pigeon with combustibles. I thought that firing them in garbage was somehow fitting with their being categorized as "trash animals."

The pit at the start of the firing.

Pigeons burning and getting sooty.

Part of the finished flock.


Kaif said...

I love the way the finished birds look! Pit firing gives such a lovely, organic look, doesn't it?

Risa said...

Wow! I love seeing the process! How cool to build your own pit to fire them. I agree--the soft, sooty finish fits for this creature! Lovely!

Charles Branch said...

Nice! The pit firing gave such a natural dusty feathered look!