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As the summer winds down, leaves begin to turn and autumn takes hold. In this wonderful time, we are moved to create things that express the beauty of the world around us.
Every leaf on every tree is unique; no two have the exact same shape or pattern of veins. We can use unique leaves in crafts to create spectacular objects.
Roll out a slab of clay, a quarter-inch thick or less, and place a large leaf (try a maple leaf) on top with the veins facing down and then press, or roll it, into the clay. Next, take your needle tool or fettling knife and cut around the perimeter of the leaf.
Lay the clay leaf in or over a slump or hump mold to make a shallow dish for a small plate or spoon holder, or use a deeper mold to make a bowl. You could also slump it over a baseball or tennis ball to make a bowl, just make sure to flatten the bottom or add a foot so that it will stand up.
Another way to use fallen leaves is as decoration on pottery.
Simply take any greenware pot (soft to leather hard) and stick leaves to the inside or outside. Next, paint the entire pot with colored slip (see: mason stains) and then peel off the leaf, which will leave a negative impression.
If you wanted colored leaves, then paint the pot first, either green or with swirls of red and yellow, then stick your leaves onto the pot and finally paint it with white or a contrasting color of slip. Peel the leaves off and fire like any other pot.
Did you ever want a jack-o-lantern that didn't get all mushy and gross after sitting on the front porch for a few weeks? Try throwing a pot with a wide middle and a narrow top (wide enough to fit a candle or tea light). Once it's leather-hard, you can carve a face in it using a fettling knife or trimming tool.
If you want to go all out, you can make the vertical lines on the pumpkin by tapping the pot with a wooden dowel.
Fall is a great time for baking, and clay is a great material for making your own baking ware. You should always use a clay mixed for ovenware and once it’s done, you should heat your pots up gradually. Glazes aren't necessary on ovenware, but if you decide not to glaze then make sure the pot is 100% bone dry before you put it in the oven.
One idea for a pot for fall foods – pie pans. Nothing says autumn like warm apple or pumpkin pie. Pie pans are one of the simplest forms to throw, but can be tricky to get off the wheel and dry. Always throw wide platters like pie pans on bats and allow to dry to leather hard before removing. Make sure you are wedging your clay well before throwing and compress your bottoms, otherwise you are likely to get cracks.