The Speckled Lily Vessel

In this post I'm going to show you how a plain glass lidded box becomes this beautiful vessel embellished with speckled lilies.

The box I'm using for this project is 6 1/2 in. tall.

I start by arranging colors for a lily petal cane.

I run this arrangement through my pasta machine with the colors going vertically until well blended. Then I fold it and run it horizontally going down to the 5th setting (on the Atlas).

The blend is now ready for the speckles. I cut off 1/3 of the blend for making the lily buds later. The extruder is packed with a copper/orange mixture of Kato and Premo clays. Using firmer clays keeps the speckles from distorting too much during reduction of the cane. I lay the extrusions on the blend, spacing them evenly on the remaining 2/3, stopping where the blend starts to change to orange.

Here I've rolled up the plain blend and the speckled blend. Next I compress the speckled blend with my hands. This step is very important - if the cane is reduced without first compressing, the small air pockets around the speckles will enlarge and tear the cane apart as you roll.

Compressed and ready for reduction.

The cane is reduced and cut in half. If you notice, there is a dark streak running down these cane pieces. When rolling up the blend, there was not quite enough of the darker clay at the end to wrap all the way around and instead of adding more, I use this to my advantage. I flatten the two halves slightly, keeping the dark part on one side. When pressed together these dark parts will form a dark stripe running through the center.

Pressing the halves together - dark parts facing inward.

Slicing moderately thin.

I run an upholstery needle along the stripe to make a groove in each petal.

Next I form the stamens - each one is rolled by hand and trimmed.

Now, to shape the flowers - I use my "flower former" (one of those free tools that come with a pack of Sculpey). First I rub it on a block of clay. This helps the stamens stick. I press six stamens evenly around the tool.

Now I add the petals. The first three are placed directly on every other stamen so the stamen lays in the petal groove. Then the three remaining petals are placed so they lay over the edges of the first petals and cover the last of the stamens.

I pinch the tips slightly and curl them downward. And then gently twist the finished lily off the "flower former".

All ready for the vessel.

I test the fit just to make sure my design is working out.

Now I make the blend for the leaves. I add a bit more light green after a few rolls through the pasta machine - I want to be sure the light green shows up well.

Rolled up, reduced, flattened and sliced.

I press each leaf slice between my finger tips to flatten the edges a bit and then I give them a little twist.

To make the buds I reduce the plain blend I made earlier and flatten it slightly. Next I wrap each slice over an upholstery needle. This will make more yellow show on the buds.

I roll each slice and arrange them in groups of three - yellow facing outward.

The covered vessel all ready for embellishing. Now we get to the fun part - putting it all together.

I begin by placing twelve stems evenly spaced around the opening.

Using the "flower former" I press each lily firmly in to place.

Adding the leaves and buds.

Each flower has a different arrangement of leaves and buds.

Next I add texture by pressing little dots onto the surface.

I give each dot a little dent with the upholstery needle.

Now I shape the lily centers by first making 12 tiny balls of equal size and then rolling, pinching, and flattening each one into shape. I put a drop of liquid clay into the middle of each lily before placing the centers.

Break time! Everything on my work table is finally still - what a giant mess!

Back to work! Now I add the rim, carefully pressing it on behind the lilies and adding a bit of texture.

Next I shape twelve bulbs. To make each one, I roll five short snakes - three large and two small. I arrange the three larger ones in the middle and add the two slightly smaller, shorter ones to the outside. Then I curl the top edges a bit and push in the sides with a clay shaper.

Adding the bulbs to the vessel.

Now for the last bit of sculpting - the roots. I use extruded clay and shape each root by curling one end and placing the other at the base of the bulb.

Adding more detail - I like my creations to look good at any angle - even the base.

Finishing touches.

Making the lid.

And here it is all baked! Only thing left to do is add a bit of paint and a wash to the background around the lilies...


...And washed.

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  1. Thank you for sharing the method of this beautiful vase, I like all your creations.

  2. You're very welcome! So glad you enjoyed it! :-)

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  4. This is a beautiful piece. Such talent.!! Thanks for sharing your hard work with us.