This squeezer can be made in various sizes to suit different fruit, and the base can be shaped in any way you like
You will need:
Clay – earthenware or stoneware
Roller guides – 5mm thick
Plastic sheet for rolling
Thick foam block – the sort used for upholstery – 10cm thick
Ribs / kidneys / tools for fine detailing
Tiny loop tool
In addition, you will need –
A4 sheet of thin card
Ruler, pencil & craft knife
Wooden template of the shape you would like your juicer to be
Cutting mat – optional
Look for wooden templates in craft outlets. You can buy them ready cut as mounts for different crafts. They are available in varying shapes and sizes, or you can cut your own with a jig saw.
Make handles from wine corks – it is a great way of recycling, and they can easily be stuck onto the template with glue
Draw a centre line along the length of the sheet of card.
Place the wooden template on the card, positioned centrally, as shown.
Draw the outline of the template.
Draw the shape you would like your juicer to be around the template outline but on half of the card only.
Fold the card in half along the central line then cut out the shape carefully with a sharp craft knife. Cutting out in this way ensures the shape is symmetrical.
Working on your sheet of plastic, reduce the bulk of a block of clay. It must be a large enough block to accommodate your template once rolled.
Beat the clay with the side of your rolling pin. Work in measured, even strokes from one side of the clay to the other, to avoid making deep grooves in the surface.
Roll out the clay between your roller guides, turning it periodically to ensure the slab is an even thickness. You will find that turning the slab makes the clay much easier to roll.
Smooth over the surface of the slab with a rib to compact the clay then turn it onto an absorbent board. Peel the plastic sheet off the slab then smooth over the surface again with a rib.
Place the card template on the slab and cut around the shape carefully.
Smooth around the cut edges of the shape with your fingers to round them off, then turn the slab over and repeat on the other side.
Place the slab on the foam block then position the wooden template centrally and press down firmly.
As you press down, the side of the dish will rise naturally. Don’t worry if the edges look a little wavy at this stage – jiggling the template as you press down can correct this to some extent, but it can be corrected later. Alternatively, you could make a feature of a wavy edge!
To correct the outline, use a wooden spatula to tap it gently into an even shape from the underside.
Transfer the dish to a board – you can leave the template in place for the time being to help keep the shape.
Hold the clay at the rounded end of the dish between your finger and thumb as shown, then wet the forefinger of your other hand and ease the clay between from side to side to form a pouring spout.
DO NOT press the clay downwards too far; it must remain at a raised level to contain the juice once squeezed.
If the spout seems a little floppy and unable to hold its shape – firm it up with a hairdryer, holding the position in your fingers until it can support itself.
Form a small ball of clay (100-150g) into a pinecone shape.
Hold the cone in the palm of your hand then press down into the centre with the forefinger of your other hand until you can feel some pressure in your palm.
Now pinch out the wall between your fingers and thumb, still maintaining the cone shape as far as possible.
The clay section must be quite thick 5-10mm, to allow the shape to be carved out later.
When pinched to your satisfaction, place the cone on the work surface and paddle it into the correct shape with a spatula.
Place the cone in the centre of your dish and mark the position with a pin.
Score the marked position for the cone on the dish and the underside of the cone itself.
Apply slip to all scored areas then, just before you join the sections together, make a pin hole in the centre of the dish.
Fix the cone in place, applying gentle pressure to ensure the surfaces seal together.
Using a round-ended modelling tool, ease the clay at the base of the cone down to blend it onto the dish. This will create an undercut or thick stem and is a little fiddly to do but if the clay wall of the cone is thick enough you should have no trouble.
Smooth over the blended clay with a finger to neaten it up.
Using a tiny loop tool (the sort used for sgraffito or fine modelling) cut out the grooves of the juicer.
Cut the grooves to divide the shape in half first, then quarter and so on until all the spaces in between have been cut evenly.
Neaten up each groove with a rounded modelling tool. You will find this easier if the tool is dipped in water first.
When you’re happy with the grooves of the juicer, turn it over and cut a hole in the base, using the pin mark as a guide to the position.
Once your juicer is complete, allow it to dry out slowly before bisque firing.
Glaze your juicer to suit your clay type and in a colour of your choice.
The example shown has been glazed in Amaco Jade celadon and fired to 1200ºC in an electric kiln. This particular glaze was chosen because of the way it breaks over uneven surfaces and pools in deeper areas.
This project first appeared in issue 23
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