Sunday, September 25, 2005

Trout Trout

We have trout.

Its a keeper.

I rolled a slab of raku clay, about three quarters of an inch thick. I used the canvas of the slab roller to pick up the slab, and transferred it to a plywood plank.

I put my trout template onto the slab, and carefully cut down to the board with a needle tool. I tried to keep the cut perpendicular to the board that the trout was on. I scavenged the scrap pieces, and rolled them out thinner to be used for rocket fins and for Julie to practice her scales on. I carried the trout into the house, on its plank, and put it on a tray in front of the couch while I watched the tail end of the Steelers game.

A slab of clay with square edges can chip and break easily, so I used one of my tools to bevel the edges of the trout. The tool has a wooden shaft, like a thick pencil, with an arrowhead shaped blade at one end, and a curved scraper that is bent in a crescent shape. I used the curved end on the trout. Since I'm right handed, I scraped the left edge of the trout towards me, and rotated the plank to make it all left edge until I have beveled the whole fish.

I carved some deep lines into the trout, using the same tool, to delineate the fins, add definition to the tail, and added a mouth and gill slit. It was all very trouty; very authentic. The mouth was made to curve up a bit, so the trout was a happy one. I then carved an 'X' in the place of an eye. Happy ex-trout. To emphasize the formerness, I took a piece of clay, and crafted a lolling tongue to stick out of the side of the mouth. Yup, a happy dead trout, no doubt about it. Expired, really, but in a happy way.

The happy dead trout is in the damp box, with a layer of plastic over it to slow the drying process. After a bisque firing, I'll raku fire it in the kiln that I haven't built yet. I may get an oak plank, stain and router it a bit to make something suitable for mounting the fish.


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