I was recently asked to make a few hundred roses for Harrods shop window in London, they wanted them to be up to 20cm in diameter. I worked out the following technique so this is how to make a big rose out of clay. I made these recently down Coalport China Museum where I volunteer to use the space for larger commissions.
Any clay would work with this method, but the better the clay, the better the results. The clay I have used here is one of my favourites for modelling with, its Earthstone Special 160 from Valentine Clays.
These large roses were fired to 1060c (Cone 04).
What you will need:
2. Rolling Pin
3. Round Cutters – Could use cups or tins.
4. Wooden bats or you could use two books or similar
Making the Petals
Normally I would grab a ball of clay and just pat it in my palms to make the petals. Fine for one or two but not for the 5400 petals I needed to make for this job. So for the sake of my poor hands I decided to roll out clay and cut the petal shapes out:
1. Bash the clay a bit before rolling between two bats of wood or anything you can find. Books will work. These wooden bats are 6mm, but you could go a bit thicker until you get the hang of it.
2. Cut circles out using cutters or whatever you can find. Tins will work or plastic beakers.
Making the Center
1. Take one petal and stretch it a bit to make this longer shape on one side. Then using your palms flatten the very edges of that one side.
2. Roll up this petal to make a center curled petal.
Making the Petals
Make 8 petals by flattening just the edges with the palm of your hands.
Putting the Rose Together
1. Put 3 petals around the center like the images below:
2. Tweak petals with fingers like the image taking care not to crack of finger print them.
3. Add 5 more petals slightly interlocked as images show.
4. Pull out the first petal to make room for the last petal.
5. Gently tweak or bend over the petals to create the affect in the image.
6. Turn over and sculpt the underside of the rose.
7. If the rose is going on stems, now is the time to poke something to create a hole for the wire. Or you could just create a nice shaped stem for it to sit on.
8. Cut stem to make nice and tidy.
9. Place over toilet rolls or tubes of some kind to dry.
Even Bigger Roses
The bigger the circles the bigger you can go. But these below are trickier than they look: