Saturday, August 31, 2019

August Theme Challenge: Octopus

It is that time again - the reveal for the Art Elements Theme Challenge - Octopus.

This month's theme was pretty fun. I had a lot of fun looking at images on Pinterest and adding pictures to my Art Elements Theme Idea board. Of course the hard part was narrowing down ideas because mom also was looking at octopus images. So, more ideas might be coming in the future. I know I would like to make an octopus necklace (hey mom - I want to make an octopus necklace)!

A picture of mom sawing out the octopus.

Mom has the easy stuff sawed out - now she has to saw out around the tentacles.

Video of mom sawing on our Facebook page.
If you want to see a 10 second video of mom sawing out one of the tentacles - head on over to our EB Facebook page. If you wait to the end - you will hear mom give a big sigh.

Mom has finished sawing out the piece, filed and sanded. Now it is my turn to enamel.

This is one of several layers of enamel I put on the piece. All those circles are some of the places I need to clean out the enamel.

You can see a video of my cleaning out holes with the dental pick.

Here is a closeup of the dental pick I use - this belonged to my grandpa. He was an engineer and he always had cool tools on hand. You can go to our EB Facebook page to watch a video of me cleaning out the holes. 

For the octopus it took me about 20 minutes to clean out all the holes. I have to do this on each layer of enamel I do on a piece. 

I was lucky this time - no holes filled during the making of this plate :)

After each firing - I would take the octopus out of the kiln and then lay it flat on the bricks we have. I then used an iron to place on the plate to make sure the piece lays flat. This picture always makes me giggle - smushed octopus with tentacles waving.

So - here is our piece. I took the picture outside when it was really sunny. The plate will go into a shadow box for display. But, I wanted a good picture of the octopus plate before it went into the shadow box and then you have reflection off the glass.

Mom wanted to go with pinks and purples. I found some pictures of octopus that I used as reference. But I mostly just played with the enamel and crossed my fingers and hoped it turned out.

Mom had a great idea of adding black around the eyes and some of the details. I knew there is reason I keep her around!!!

I hope you enjoyed our tour of how we created the octopus plate.

Here is a list of those participating in this month's theme:

Guest artists:
Evie and Beth (you are here)


  1. I love, love, love your octopus! He is gorgeous! He looks so organic and still at the same time like a kind of tribal ornament. He could come live with me ❤️ Thank you both for participating!

  2. That's amazing! I never get how your mom has the patience for all that sawing and the enamel colors are beautiful!

    I'm not sure I can approve of you smushing the octopus, though. It's a miracle all those tentacles didn't go right up in the air and you didn't get a good load of ink :-P Nice iron, by the way!

  3. This is beautiful teamwork, so precise and so detailed and the colors are lovely!

  4. that is huge! fabulous and huge, I bet your mum was glad to rest her hands after all that detail sawing!

  5. The octopus looks great. I love how you use an iron to flatten it out after firing. Good tip to know!

  6. Such a beautiful design - and all of that work!!! I too chuckled at the iron over the Octopus (not that it would be funny in real life, but that you could see it animated in a cartoon way - and that you know - they can wiggle free from many things...) :)

  7. what a process and so fun to see how it came together. I was watching over on Instagram. Love how your octopus turned out! and that iron is so cool - what a great way to flatten it!!

  8. I got to see some of your process in creating this beauty on you Instagram, but am excited to see the final piece. It's fantastic!!
    I'd love to see your necklace too when it gets made ;)

  9. I know I probably say this every month but your mom's sawing skills blow me AWAY! And then your enameling process just makes the piece come alive. The colors you used for this octopus are beautiful & rich.

  10. Purple was the perfect color for this stunning octopus. The details from the sawing to the black details in the enamel are all amazing.

  11. Wow! Your octopus is totally awesome! I love the design, and the color. It’s a wonderful piece!

  12. That is really cool and so much sawing! Not to mention the enamelling, I've never thought about how much more difficult it is to enamel something larger!

  13. What a wonderful design! I need to get an iron like yours to use for flattening other items.

  14. I'm looking forward to reading about your process every time - it's fascinating! Love your huge octopus!


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