Work in progress: chicken ceramics


“How are the chickens?” asked my hairdresser.

“Oh my god! Don’t ask about the chickens!” I exclaimed.

“Why? What’s wrong?” she enquired, after more than a year of us discussing chicken ceramics. And chickens in general, before.

It’s been three months since I began a small work about broiler consumption. The idea was simple enough. Out of porcelain, I’d make a fork (with the prongs comprised of a chicken foot), a knife, a plate, and later I decided, a napkin. Mid-century style, when broilers raised intensively first became commonly sold. This made chicken a regular meat on the dinner table, when once it was a rare treat.

I’d spent a day a week over winter, sometimes two, sometime more, at the ceramics studio, focused on making the fork and napkin.

As I cast the clay, I could see room for improvement; enough to warrant a new mould or two.

Or six.


There was a lesson in each new mould and each new cast, and the fork in particular, improved.

“I didn’t want to get my hair cut until I had something to show you. And I have nothing to show!” I exclaimed.

The prongs of the fork would come out broken. Sometimes detail would be lost when I cast. Perhaps the feet would slump too much when fired?

If the utensils didn’t work out of clay, I explained, metal casting with rose or light gold plating was an option, but only if it was a commission, because it’d be too expensive. She nodded in agreement.

Resin would work, and I could mix in light gold metal powder, but it would be resin, I lamented.

“Ugh,” she said.


But I forgot to tell her that I did my first successful chicken bone china test.

… and that I mailed the rewards to the chicken donors.

…and I’d made different bone spoons, for finer broth bowls.

“Anyway I’m learning about exhibition design,” I told my hairdresser, the silver lining that I did remember.

She indulgently smiles.

But this week I can say—I’ve made progress! It’s never a sure thing, anything can happen in the kiln, yet I’m happy nevertheless. Now I can relax a bit, make the plates, and tackle the knife.


I promised myself I’ll fire something before my next cut, due in six weeks.

2 Responses to Work in progress: chicken ceramics

  1. Kris says:

    This is amazing! I can’t believe you MADE CHINA. That’s next level.

    1. Sharon says:

      Thanks Kris! Means a lot, coming from a knitter of code!!!

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