I hand-built Taos Shakers from stoneware clay. First, I designed and cut out a template for my design. I designed these shakers to fit ergonomically in your hand.
To start my construction, I roll out a slab of clay between 1/8″ and 1/4″ thick, using a slab roller because it compresses the clay nicely into an even sheet. Next I cut the pattern out for the number of pairs I am making.
The body or wall is stood vertically and shaped into an oval; and I attach the ends.
Now it’s time for the tricky part – making the tops. I roll texture into oval pieces that will make the tops to the shakers. And then I push the oval piece of clay up from the bottom through the oval body. It’s inside out. This is what creates the “drop down” look of the shaker tops that people like. It’s a bit awkward because the fit is tight and clay likes to stick; but slowly and surely gets the job done. And the look is worth it.
I use a needle tool to pierce the shaker holes in the top, making sure I am creating a big enough opening for some of the larger grained salts. Whew.
Finally, I can attach the floors and cut the hole for the rubber stopper. The hole is going to shrink when the piece is fired, so I need to estimate the shrinkage.
Lastly, a good bit of clean up and smoothing and then, voila. Salt and pepper shakers! Work intensive!
Taos Shakers are beautiful on the table, but you can keep them on the stove as well. And they make great gifts for any occasion.
3.5”W x 3”H. One pair smooth tops; one pair textured tops.
See also Verde Shakers