Ceramics 1‎ > ‎Lessons‎ > ‎

Creating a Pair: Bookends

Challenge: Your goal is to create a funky pair of bookends. Your bookends must be able to support several books, have a theme that connects the two designs and be uniquely shaped.

Materials: Clay, ceramic tools, slip

Phase 1 - Planning
  • Research multiple designs for bookends, including shapes from other artists
  • Brainstorm & Draw
  • 5-6 well developed drawings exploring shape and proportion
  • 3-4 samples of added texture, pattern, embellishments (incise or add or both)
  • Demonstration: Creating a mock up
  • Create a mock up of the structure using the intended construction plans
Dimensions & Requirements:
  • 4 x 6 inches for the base
  • 4 x 6 inches tall for back that supports the books
  • hand built techniques; coil, pinch, slab
  • surface decoration: incised with deep texture
Phase 2 - Construction
  • Get clay
  • Wedge clay
  • Begin with the bottom of the bookends
  • Using the slab technique create the bottom and walls of the bookends

     • Clay must remains moist during construction
• Walls must be even
• Seams are smooth and invisible where necessary
• Base is stable and flat
• Structure stays together in “bone” dry state
• All crumbs and bumps are removed

  • Begin building up your designs once the base shape is created
  • Incise your surface decoration into the bookends
  • Plan out your design along the bookends
Lightly sketch in your design
Using an incising tool or loop tool carve out deep groves along your planned sketch
  • You may also attach clay onto your bookends for decoration.
  • Remember to slip, score and stick the clay on and weld it onto place so that it stays on during the drying stages and firing.
  • Make sure your name and date are on the bottom and place the finished bookends in the kiln room for firing.