Plant Me Where The Sun Shines - My Second "Clay Picture" Project

This new project is going to be a set of pictures showing the story of a growing sunflower. (See my first "clay picture" here.)

Three frames ready for the project. I start with the smallest. This frame has no glass so I measure the opening and cut a small sheet of clay to fit.

Forming the seed and planting it. At the top of the seed, I put a little sprout of leaves and then add some dirt clods around the base.

Adding the sunbeams and sundrops. Each sunbeam is rolled by hand and carefully placed.

Finished - fits perfectly.

Now I make the medium sized picture. This frame has a sheet of glass so I roll the clay, press it onto the glass and trim off the edges.

Here I'm forming the seeds. Each one is placed individually using the dragon scale technique I used for The Dragon Slayer.

Forming the petals - they're so tiny. They each get a row of three marks at the top.

Each one is placed on the stem.

Finishing the sunflower and adding the leaves.

Now I plant my sunflower. I form the dirt clods by tearing off small bits of clay, pressing them between my finger tips and then rolling them into balls - but not too round - I want them to be lumpy.

The sunbeams and sundrops.

All finished.

Now for the last picture. I roll the clay to fit the glass and press it into place. Next I add stalks and plant them in a hill of lots of dirt clods.

Forming more petals - these are even smaller than the first!

All the petals are arranged, the seeds added and the leaves placed. They're growing so happily - now they need a bit of sunshine.

Placing sunbeams.

Each sunbeam is placed and trimmed off at the center where the sun disc will lay.

When I started these pictures I lightly marked the clay with little pricks where the edges of the frame overlap so the finished design wouldn't be covered. Now I remove these marks by carefully blending them back in.

Testing the fit.

Adding the sundrops.

More sundrops.

I make a last minute change to the sunbeams beneath the sun - they were too symmetrical and it bothered me - easily fixed.

The sun's back in place and I continue to add sundrops.

Just a few more…

And it's done!

All three pictures.

"Plant me where the sun shines and there I'll grow and flourish."

Another project ready for the oven - time to clear off my work table. Next I'll paint the pictures and a checkerboard pattern in shades of brown on the frames…

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  1. I had an idea in the back of my mind for a piece of wall art for my daughter who loves sunflowers but wasn't sure how to pull it off! Your design has me anxious to head to the work table! Thanks for the inspiration.

  2. How exciting! I look forward to seeing your design!

  3. Hi there!
    I love your red clay art! We are planning to do something similar with a kids' literature workshop later this week, creating a cotton stalk instead of a sunflower, as we are exploring the book "Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry," which takes place in the South. Thank you for the inspiration! We can never match your expertise, but would love to try our hands at creating the effect, in a novice way :). Can you give any input as to how the kids might finish off their artwork to keep it from falling apart? Do they bake it in the oven? If so, would you mind telling what temperature and for how long? Thanks for any help you can give - you do beautiful work.
    Becky Kimball
    LitWits Workshops