A few months ago, I picked up this tub of air dry terracotta at the craft store. I’ve always loved the texture of terracotta and this looked like it could be fun! Unfortunately I’ve also been pretty busy with work so I haven’t had much time to play around with it. With the holiday break here, I finally got the chance to slow down a bit, which was the perfect opportunity to bust out the tub and started to mess around with it.
So what to do with terra cotta? Make ornaments! I found major inspiration in one of my idols, ceramic artist Stan Bitters.
Due to the nature of terracotta, you need to make sure your work surface is properly covered as the stuff can leave stains, especially on your hands and fresh out of the tub is a bit sticky. However, a little corn starch fixed the stickyness and aside that, it’s pretty easy to work with.
I played around with cutting out simple shapes and pressing random objects repeatedly to give different textures. I then poked a few holes and let it dry. The color of the terracotta is pretty dark, and I kind of wanted to lighten things up (it is the holidays and all) So a little trick I learned from photo styling is to give terracotta a little white wash. I mixed up a small batch of diluted white acrylic paint and loosely brushed it over the pieces. After that was dry, I decided that maybe a little sparkle and shine would make them even more festive, so I sprayed some gold spray paint into a cup, and then spattered some of that paint over the pieces. To finish things off, I connected the pieces together using small gold jewelry hoops.
With these new ornaments, it was now on to the tree! I recycled pieces from past trees, including the gray yarn balls, gold star bursts, and wood balls from my original 2007 tree, and the geometric wood sculptures from my 2009 tree.
I kind of felt like maybe a little more gold would be a nice touch, and when looking for inspiration for the terracotta ornaments, I came across this mid century/brutalist wall sconce and loved the basic curved shapes. I thought maybe I could recreate something based off that idea. I bought a pack of glossy coated cardstock and cut strips, which I then punched with a large whole punch, made a few slices and folded the sides. Finally, I spray painted the whole thing gold and ended up with these shiny happy pieces.
Another thing I look forward to during the holiday break is hosting some close friends over for an annual get together. Since I started with this terracotta theme, I decided to extend it to a little tablescape. I bought some small terracotta flower pots and glued them together in alternating positions to create little totems. I then used the same white wash solution to give them a nice faux aged, and actually almost “wintery” effect. I added a bunch of white candles and a few gold glass votive holders to complete the centerpiece.
I also extended the theme outside to my patio, using white washed terracotta pot trays and more votive holders. I found these great candles that have a gold textured base already built in from Target’s Threshold collection that worked great in the mix.
To finish things off, I picked up a few of these awesome terracotta “Napa Au Gratin” bowls from Crate & Barrel that have a pipe handle. They were perfect for some comforting butternut squash soup!
I also picked up an inexpensive “winter floral” bouquet of tiger lilys from Trader Joes as the final touch.
And there you have it, a little warm and textural happy mundane holiday to send off 2013!
I want to thank you for all your support and continuing to stop by this little blog. I look forward to sharing more mundane musings with you in 2014! Be sure to follow my other shenanigans on Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest and I’ll see you … next year!