Monday, July 25, 2016

Creating Little Clay Houses

Beth S Macre on Etsy

Little Clay Houses
I have been making little clay houses for 8 years. I sell them on Etsy and in local arts and craft shows. Although I am not the only artist that makes little clay houses, there are not many, that I know of. There are others that sell them on Etsy (that are very cute), but I feel like mine are unique to those. Not to say that mine are better than others. Just made differently. As with anything creative that you sell, you need to make your product stand out from the rest.

The Creative Process
Occasionally people ask how to make something like my tiles or my houses. All I can say to that is to explain what materials I use (see my list below) and suggest that they buy some supplies and start creating. I took high school art and a ceramics class in college that taught me the basics of working with clay. The rest I taught myself. When I see something that I like, I do the research about the process and develop my own process and try to make mine unique from the other works that I admire. All artists, makers, and small business entrepreneurs should be doing the same. Find what you love to do and add your ideas to make it your own. You shouldn't take one person's idea and copy it. But you can make something that has been created before and make it original. Add your own ideas to it. Do some online research to see what is being done in your medium. Don't copy. We have seen how plagiarism has gotten some people into hot water lately. Plagiarism is not just about copying words. An artist owns copyright to their own original creations just as a writer does.

I will happily tell you what kind of supplies I use and where I purchase them. What I will not tell you is a step by step process of making my little clay houses. For one, they are all different. They are all one of a kind, but I do add, to each one, something to make them unique to my work. That would be something that you will want to come up with for your own work. You would not want someone else to use your design, use your words, or use your ideas. So make your work original. Make it obvious that it is your creation. I have spent the last 8 years working on my designs and learning what works and what doesn't through trial and error. It is an ongoing process to come up with new ideas. I keep a sketchbook to jot down my ideas and work them out later.

What can you do to make your work stand apart
from another artist?

How can you be authentic with your own art?

Supplies I Use
Low fire white earthenware
  - I buy it locally from a shop owner that is about a mile from my house. But I used to purchase it through
Variety of Ceramic tools
 - I purchased my tools through Blick, several years ago. These tools last a long time. A good variety of wooden tools and carving tools would be a good start for a beginner.
Canvas cloth covered board
 - I used cotton canvas that I stapled to a piece of 1/2 inch plywood.
Small Kiln (for small work)
 - I purchased mine online, from
Variety of Low Fire Glazes
 - I use Mayco Stroke and Coat (shown in the photo) They can be purchased online also. I have purchased from Blick, but they only sell the Pint size bottles and the 2 oz. bottles in sets. I like to order from Clay-King or The Ceramic Shop for the 8 oz. bottles and 2 oz. sizes for testing new colors.
Watercolor/Acrylic type paintbrushes
  - I use a variety of styles of watercolor and acrylic brushes to apply glaze. You just need to experiment with a variety of styles and sizes to see what works best.

The supplies that I use are pretty basic supplies, except for the kiln. A kiln is not something that you would just go out and purchase without making sure that that is something that you really want to do.

So if you do not have a kiln, then you will need to find someone or some organization that does have access to one. I will talk more about my kiln in a later post. I wrote a little about the kiln in this post: My Little Kiln.

Until next time, have a wonderful week!


  1. I am jealous you have a kiln. someone in the area was giving one away, just don't have the space or I would have gone right away to get it lol

    1. Jennifer, I am thankful to have a kiln, even though it is a small one. It is big enough for my little houses! :) But they do take up space. Mine is in my garage.

  2. Gosh, I just ADORE your clay houses. They're super cute and full of wonderful personality. I'd love to have a set of those. So perfect and full of life. :)

    1. Thank you Alexandra! Maybe one day you will have a set! :)

  3. Hi Beth,

    Your clay houses are adorable! I fully agree with you on the copying side of things. Some people seem to think that, if it's online, it's fair game to take and use. They can be quite bold about it too. I've had artist friends who have had their work stolen and used by others. It's sad and frustrating.

    I use to buy green-ware many years ago and it was so relaxing just cleaning it up, ready for firing...a little scary too. I would get them fired at our local ceramics store and it was so much fun painting them with acrylic paint. I did a lot of Native American pieces back then...still have them too.

    Thanks for sharing your lovely work and supplies with us. You are very talented.

    Have a lovely and creative week. :)

    Btw, visiting from Sunday Sketches.

    1. Thank you Serena! Yes, working with ceramics can be very relaxing and fun!
      I think we all need to make people aware that using other people's ideas is copying. It is frustrating!
      Thanks for stopping by!

  4. I've been experimenting with polymer clay lately Beth. Decided to give it a try. Started with FIMO Effects and Premo Sculpey Accents. Although they were fun, I quickly realized that what I really needed was Super Sculpey Medium Blend clay. NOW I can try out the kind of sculpting I wanted to do from the beginning. Nothing like experimenting and learning. The only way to do it! :D

    BTW, my co-workers still prominently display those mushrooms you made.

    ~ Nancy


I love hearing from you! Thanks for stopping by!

Garden Markers for the Creative Gardener

Ceramic Plant Markers Plant markers are a fun way to decorate your garden and to mark your new or existing garden plants. I've se...