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Slab & Wheel Incense Burners

Like many of the slab pieces illustrated on these pages, the method of making them is extremely simple for beginners and experts. See the detailed explanation in section #3 called Making Slab Pieces.

These little incense burners are about 4" high and wide. The first (on the left) was made on the potter's wheel. It began as a bowl, then the top as brought in and closed to make the closed container. Two pieces of slab clay were wrapped around a pencil. The ends were cut clean to be make the clay on the pencil have clean edges and about 1 1/2" long. When the pencil was removed, we had a tube for the "tall ears." After they were attached to the top of the bowl, a hole was drilled at the bottom of each tube into the bowl. This made two little smokestacks that the incense smoke rises out of. The same thing was done for the nose, but a 1/8" dowel made the hole in the nose, which smoke also drifts out of. The eyes were little balls of clay placed purely for decoration. Another cutout was made on the rear of the smoker at the bottom. This is where you put the incense cone and light it, as well as dump out ashes later. It's a cute little conversation piece, even when not smoking to decorate a table or shelf. A crystal glaze, blue-green with dark blue rocks was used for decoration, and a white matte glaze covers the eyeballs.

The center piece resembles a square beehive with a round top. The four slab sides and bottom were made from slabs and assembled. The top was a circle with a large wedge cut out. Then, like making a pointed paper drinking cup, it was bent and shaped into a wide cone and attached to the top of the "house." A decorative pattern was pressed into the walls of the house and a dark brown glaze painted on it. The top cone has a sand-colored glaze with brown rocks that resembles a thatched roof. There is a door cut in the front (or back if you prefer) for the insense and a hole of about 1/2" diameter cut near the peak of the conical roof to vent the smoke. Windows could have been added.

The little triangular shaped "thing" with eyes and a mouth (vent for the smoke) is simply three triangular slabs joined together to make a 3-D triangle. then a slab base with ridge sides was made in which to sit the "creature". You lift the "thing" off its base to place the incense and light it. The smoke comes out of the "mouth." We got the idea from a Gumby Cartoon years ago where little clay creatues like this were chasing Gumby and Pokey around. All pieces were fired to cone 06.

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This page created by M.D. Smith and last modified on February 12, 1996 ©