Big Ceramic Store Blog

Lifelike Ceramic Handbags With BCS Customer JD Moore

This post was inspired and assisted by Jan Moore at Moore Colorful, Jan Moore. If you’re interested in posting on our blog, shoot us an email at bcscommunity@bigceramicstore.com!

Big Ceramic Store (BCS) customer Jan Moore has graciously shared directions for making one of her beautiful hand-built ceramic handbags! The detail and lifelike presence is an amazing sample of the ability to turn clay into almost anything your mind can conjure up!

Ready for an exciting and rewarding challenge? Grab your coffee, a pencil, paper, and your favorite fabric, and follow along on this incredible journey!

Jan Moore, Fairfield Virginia

"In 1963, our neighbors began a home ceramic studio.  I remember my first piece, my first competition, my first ribbon.  It is a love that has lasted my lifetime.  I learned, taught, and eventually had my own studio with over 100 students a week.  My focus has always been to have clay do extraordinary things."

Working with white low fire earthenware clay, AMACO Velvet Underglazes, and a few other supplies, the following pictures capture the soft, fluid nature of the fabric bags.


Let's get started! Here are the supplies you will need for the red bag...

  • White Clay
  • Paper Pattern
  • Clear Glaze
  • Tools - knife, paint brushes, sponges etc...
  • Amaco Velvet Underglazes
    • light green, yellow, pink, chartreuce, maroon, cinnamon and red.

Once you've pictured the handbag in your mine, or here in the blog, sketch a pattern allowing room for "gathering" and clay shrinkage, then cut out two pieces of clay slightly under 1/4" thick.

For th back:

  •  smooth all the edges for a finer seam edge
  • ‘gather’ the top edge to the width of the inside of the frame piece
    • lift and pull the clay while making the folds, and trim the excess clay from the back where the folds are thick to ensure a nice gathered look

For the front:

  • Follow the same steps as for the back

Join the two pieces:

  • Join the front to the back, using a damp sponge to smooth the seam and coax the center into hills and valleys, emulating the natural drape  of the fabric

JD Moore
Finishing touches:

  • Make the frame, add some texture and a simulated clasp, then attach to the body
  • Pierced a vent hole in one of the folds, and drill small holes along the bottom edge to accommodate the beads
  • Dry then bisque fire
  • Using the underglazes, mimic the pattern on the fabric. Pay special attention to where the design disappears into the seam
  • Clear glaze the frame (attach gold leaf after the firing, or use a metallic glaze)
  • Glaze fire
  • Attach beads and gimp trim
  • Take pictures and send them to BCS (if you want)

JD Group

Each pair is one ceramic bag and one fabric... can you tell which one is ceramic?

Thank you Jan, for sharing your incredible work with the BCS Community!

If you'd like to share your ideas, projects or submit a post for our blog, email us at bcscommunity@bigceramicstore.com! We look forward to hearing from you!

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