Love Knot

'his delicate design has a timeless appeal, and the love knot in the centre was frequently used in Roman mosaics. The box and lid are made of transparent clay, which gives a porcelain effect.

MATERIALS

♦ Clay - transparent leaf green, pink, black and dark brown

♦ Small jar or egg cup, about 3.5cm (1 % in) in diameter, to use as a former for the box

♦ Aluminium foil

♦ Talcum powder

♦ Tracing paper and pencil

♦ Gloss varnish

MIXTURES

♦ Translucent pink = transparent + pink

1 Cover the jar w^ith aluminium foil and smooth out the wrinkles as much as possible. Roll out some transparent clay to 1.5mm (K..in) thick and stand the jar on the clay sheet. Holding your knife vertically, cut out the shape of the jar's bottom. Press this base disc onto the foil.

2 Roll out another sheet of clay to 1.5mm (Yuin) thick. Trim to make a piece approximately 4 x 10cm (1 % x 4 in), depending on the size of your jar. Lay the jar on its side on the sheet so that the trimmed long side is in line with the base disc. Roll the jar up in the sheet, trimming the edges flush and keeping the bottom edge in line with the base disc all round. Smooth the joins with a knife or modelling tool.

Outline for love knot box mosaic if green, brown ibout 3.5cm use as a icil of ansparent

Stand the jar on a small piece of baking parchment so you can ate it easily, and hold the ¿life horizontally against the iivas you turn the jar to t the top edge. Bake for 10 sinutes and allow to cool for a ¿v minutes. Remove the x carefully from the jar by listing and pulling it away kith the foil.

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4 Roll out a sheet of transparent clay, 3mm (^in) thick, on a piece of baking parchment. Brush the surface well with talcum powder and press the box, opening downwards, onto the clay until it has made an impression 1.5mm (K»in) deep. Holding the box on to the impression and, with your knife held vertically, cut out the lid. Remove the waste clay and transfer the lid, still on the parchment, to the baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Check that the lid fits the box well, trimming away any clay, if this is necessary.

5 Roll out a 1.5mm ('/kin) sheet of transparent clay and lay the lid, top down on it. Cut round it with the knife. Carefully apply the resulting clay disc to the top of the lid, smoothing the joins all round the edge. You are now ready to decorate the lid. Trace the design from the template, lay the tracing paper on top of the lid and mark the lines with a pin to transfer the design to the soft clay.

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6 The mosaic design is made using 1.5mm (Mr.in) squares. Roll flat a 6mm (!4in) log of black clay until it is 1.5mm (Mr.in) thick. Cut several 1.5mm (VUin) strips. Now cut thin slices from the ends of the strips to give tiny squares. Apply these with the knife tip to the outline design on the clay surface, aligning all the squares very carefully.

Use the same technique with the other colours, filling in the flower outlines with pink and theknol outline with beige. The leaves are outlined with green before filling them in around the central rib of black. Cut slightly larger squares of transparent clay for the background. Apply them around the edge ot tliet and work inwards, keeping the 1 lines of squares in concentric circles. Bake the finished lid for 10 minutes. Varnish the whole box with gloss varnish. If you wish, paint the inside of the box: smoothly with acrylic paint for decorative finish.

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