The Art of Small Things

It’s easy to not think small when we think clay. Small or tiny handmade items take time to make and when they’re done they are, well, small. Small can be amazing, though. If I consider a small piece someone made, if I study it closely, I’m often stunned. Someone made it by hand and their work is often painstaking because of the tiny work area. Even if the thing has been molded then stamped, it still needs finish work, then firing and glazing. It’s a lot of work for something very small. That’s what makes small things intriguing to me. My friend, Jennifer, was wearing a pendant the other day. It was made of white clay, an inch square, and quite thin. On it had been stamped a flower which had been underglazed, then topped with a glossy, clear glaze. It was sweet but not cloying. Upon close inspection, I saw that it had been worked and finished quite carefully. She said it was a necklace her daughter had gotten in Korea. I just loved it and it made me start thinking about small things made of clay. Here is a sampling I’ve either collected or been given over the years. I was going to add a shot of some beads I made in high school, but I can’t find them. When I do, I’ll add it to the gallery. The next time you see a very small clay piece, take a minute to think of the person who made it and the work they did to create it.


About Jan

I have a background in ceramics, graphic design and journalism.
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