How Sacred Symbols and Talismans are Created

Each Sacred Symbol and Talisman is created by hand, one at a time by me, using earthenware clay. 

The good news is because I create each piece one at a time by hand there will be very small variations in size and color tone.

They range from 10 to 12 ounces (284 to 340 gm) and are approximately 3.5 to 4 inches (8.9 to 10.2 cm) across. 

Each Talisman is truly unique which is what you are looking for.  Because of its uniqueness your Talisman will be yours alone, no one else will have the exact same one.


Celtic Tree of Life

Small variations in handmade artwork are what give each piece its own 'charm'.  These are not manufactured in some plant by a robotic machine and that is readily apparent when holding them.  They truly have that unique warmth of hand about them that can only come from the individual attention and care they receive during the entire creative process. 

If it sounds like I am proud of my work I am.  I use glazes made from only non-toxic oxides and minerals which are then mixed with silica, the most abundant material on the planet. 

The result is not only do you have an ancient Sacred Symbol but you also have a beautiful and unique work of art.

bindruneA Bindrune for enjoying a Happy Home

I first take a hand full of clay and shape it.  When I get the piece shaped the way I want it I then impress a symbol into the clay. 

Here is a short video showing the creation process starting with a 25 pound block of red earthenware clay.

Once the clay dries it becomes what is called bone dry.  The next photo shows bone dry clay of both red and white earthenware. 

clay that is bone dry

After the clay dries (bone dry) I then fire the pieces in my kiln to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit (1,094 Celsius), after this first firing, which is called a bisque firing, the pieces are then bisqueware. 

In the next photo you can see how the color of the clay changes from when it was bone dry to after it has been bisque fired.  Bisqueware is now ready to be glazed.

bisque fired clay

Here is a photo showing my work bench with a full load of bisque fired Sacred Symbols taken from my kiln.

bisque fired talismans

The next step is to apply the glazes to each piece.   I use my own custom combination of glazes to get the look and coloring for the different symbols. The glazes are made from natural minerals and I use 3 or 4 coats of glaze on each piece.  Most of them get two different color glazes and in the glaze firing process the two colors melt together giving a totally different look than it would otherwise have if I had used just an application of one color.  Using the two or more colors also gives a deeper, richer look to the pieces.

The next video shows the application of glaze to a bisque fired Celtic Cross.

This next photo is interesting.  The green arrow is pointing to one color glaze that I had put on first.  The yellow arrow shows the second color of glaze I applied over the first.  The first color is a white glaze and the second color is a brown glaze even though it looks dark reddish brown.  That is one of the peculiar features of working with glazes.  The color of the glaze during the application process is almost nothing close the color after a firing.

talismans and sacred symbols

Once the symbols are glazed, I put them in the kiln.  Because I glaze the entire symbol I use a piece of kiln furniture called a stilt to hold them up off the kiln shelf.  The reason is that during the firing process the glaze melts and becomes glass and if the pieces where not held up on a stilt they would fuse together with the shelf and the work and the shelf would be ruined.

Here is a symbol shown on a stilt.

Next is a pic of a kiln shelf loaded with Sacred Symbols.  Notice the color of the glazes.  The white one is a Buddhist symbol called a Dharma Wheel. 

You can see in the next photo the dramatic change in color after the firing.  The photo is of a different shelf but with the same glazes on the pieces.  The Dharma wheel went from white to dark blue and the other symbols went from the dark reddish brown to a much lighter color that I call ‘Monk’s Robe’.    

The next photo shows my work bench after I unloaded the kiln from a glaze firing.  

It's a great feeling to open the kiln and see that the firing went well.  The entire process takes about 3 weeks from start to finish.  Most of that is the earthenware clay drying to get to bone dry before I do the first firing.  The pieces are about an inch or a little more in thickness and for all the moisture to get out takes that long.  

Once when I first started to create these Sacred Symbols I got impatient waiting for them to get to the bone dry state and decided to take a chance and do a bisque firing.  When I opened the kiln I saw the entire load had 'blown' up and not one of them made it.  

What happens is if they are not bone dry any water left in will expand when the temp gets high enough and break apart the piece.  

So I learned my lesson and now let them take as long as it takes to dry out and I have been happy ever since.  I really do love creating these Sacred Symbols and Talismans.  They take time and effort but it's worth it.  They make a beautiful and enduring gift to someone or yourself.  

 This last short video shows you a Celtic Cross with the Mossy Stone glazing.

 Here are some fun facts...

Using earthenware clay for ceramics is one of the oldest human industries.  The oldest examples archaeologists have found to date go back to over 30,000 years ago. 

The first examples known in using clay to make pottery are from china over 20,000 years ago.

The use of ceramics exploded when humans began living in settled communities 11,000 years ago.

The invention of the pottery wheel was 5,500 years ago.

Ceramic pottery became more and more sophisticated in its decoration and evolved into fine pieces of art over 5,000 years ago.

Prehistoric cultures are often identified by their pottery because pottery is so durable it survives for thousands of years and each culture puts there own stamp on it.

Since the discovery and invention of using earthenware for ceramics, the endeavor has become an indispensable part of the human experience. Today it is used in virtually all industries in one form or another.  The global ceramics market is expected to reach $287 billion by 2022.

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