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Wendy Cevola - Repairing a rare tiki mug.

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Welcome to my step by step thread of making tiki art and living the wonderful tiki life. Wendy

A few times our Tiki Jungle Room has made the news.





The next post from VampiressRN refers to the story of Frankoma Pottery and their horrific fire. I reposted it further down.

[ Edited by danlovestikis on 2024-05-20 08:46:07 ]

Wow...sad history but great pictures. That Tiki couldn't have gone to a better person. Looking forward to your moldy posts. :)


Great stuff Wendy. I'm looking forward to you showing everyone the process of how to make a mold.


Nice start Wendy...your going to have great fun I'm sure! :)

Hi, I've been slow to starting this thread because I've had so much fun posting finished art to the Gallery page. But now I'd like to share Step by Step how I create my art. What is be missing from this thread will be the projects that I do for the Sacramento Crawl each year. If you go to the event page and choose that thread you will follow my progress to make the next ceramic for the 2011 crawl. Maybe you will want to come be part of a wonderful weekend in October.

Before starting this thread I posted all of my Step by Step photos of the production of the Zombie Hut mug on the Sacramento Crawl Thread. Here is the link to see that work. Cheers, Wendy

Today 11/20/11 Sven (BigBroTiki) was on TV and so was my mug. It's on the top of his CD shelf next to the pole!

It gives me great pleasure to call Joniece Frank of Frankoma Pottery my friend. She and I have been enjoying each others love of clay for years now.

She sent me a precious gift. When Frankoma burnt to the ground in 1983 all of the master molds were destroyed. Every tiki mold gone.

Joniece Frank my friend.

As she went through the rubble she found an intact small tiki that had been saved and fired in the heat. She sent me that special tiki.

Years ago she gave me the copy write to the Frankoma Tiki line. That is why I did a sculpt that Gecko made into the ceramic war gods. This time with Joniece's blessing I have made a mold with my friend Mike L. and will in the future bring back the actual tiki salt & pepper and three tiki bowl. They will not have the same glaze or the name Frankoma on them. But they will be the tiki that survived the fire.

Here I will share the step to make a two piece mold.

Hey Vamp, Swizzle and Babalu, thank you for visiting here and commenting.

Step one: choose your materials for the box. Mike is a master mold maker with more than 25 years experience. He starts off by bending this metal into L shapes.

Next he puts them around the tiki to see how large a base he needs to cut out of wood.

He cuts the wood.

We make the bottom of the tiki flat by adding wet clay then we make a funnel shape of clay and attach it to the tiki. In the future this will be the opening where the slip is poured into the mold. The tiki is also secured to the wood bottom with clay.

In your mind decide how to divide the tiki into two halves so the mold will pull apart. No undercuts. Build clay up to that half way point all the way around.

Smooth the clay and make sure it's tight against the tiki.

Take a break, more tomorrow. Cheers, Wendy

Mike and Dan

[ Edited by: danlovestikis 2012-09-08 08:40 ]

Use a round object to make mold locks for fitting pieces together. this is a melon kitchen utensil.

Fit your sides around the wood bottom and strap tightly.

Use paper clamps to hold the sides together.

Press clay around the edges to make a firm seal with the sides.

Buy high grade mold plaster. Put on a face mask before opening the bag of plaster. It should be a face mask that filters microscopic particles. Add water and mix until it is like buttermilk.

Pour into your mold until it's at least 2 inches deep. Pour slowly to prevent air pockets. Tap the sides to help move air to the top.

Do not pour left over plaster down the drain it will harden somewhere down the pipes and will never break down. Also clean any tools you used for mixing right away. It's a lot of work to get it off later. As shown in this photo we learned the hard way. This is a mixing tool that attaches to a drill.

More photos soon, Wendy

[ Edited by: danlovestikis 2010-11-13 08:02 ]


Hi Wendy, just a couple of questions. I assume that the clay is wet when you pour the plaster over it, is that correct? I gather that the plaster doesn't stick to the clay. And also do you need to coat the sculpt/master with anything so that the plaster doesn't stick to that?

Very cool Wendy! Looking forward to see all the projects you have planned for this Phoenix Tiki that has risen from the ashes!

GROG posted on Fri, Nov 12, 2010 8:08 PM

When you mix plaster you should wear an air mask. Plaster is activated by adding water, and it hardens by a catalyst, which is why it gets hot as it hardens. If you breathe in the plaster dust it can get in your lungs, harden, and cause breathing problems.

Thanks Grog, that's important information. I can't remember if Mike the Mold maker was wearing one or not. I wear a mask all the time when I sand or carve clay. MadDogMike, I'm looking forward to this project and so many more, thank you. Swizzle the clay is wet.

When the plaster has hardened about 45 minutes remove the sides.

Another good time for a face mask. Use a rasp to sand the edges.

Peal away the clay but leave the tiki in place.

More soon, Goodnight, Wendy

GROG shouldn't worry his pretty little head, Wendy is so safety conscious that she wears a mask when she opens a new box of masks! :lol: :D :P

You go girl!

So fun to read your journey through this process. Thanks for the great descriptions and pictures.

Mold soap should have been used on the first side of the tiki but is wasn't so you'll see what happens by the end. Cover all the surfaces, plaster and tiki with three coats of mold soap.

When it dries wipe it down so the surface will be even and clump free.

More soon, Wendy

Wendy Very Cool info, mahalo.. I like the way you cut the metal and form the sides around the base there.. I was having a hard time building up the clay around my piece where the part line is, having it out of the box looks so much easier to get the clay even and just where you want it..
Great point on the mask Grog, I gotta start thinking safer... I just get into a hurry sometimes..


The only soft clay that is not removed is at the base. It's for the opening used to pour in the slip.

This plaster is dense and will not break if you hammer hard to separate the halves for the first time.

Since we did not use mold soap on the little tiki before pouring the first half it stuck. We were very lucky that with some prying it came out.

Leave the mold open and let it dry out for a couple of days. Then secure with rubber bands or straps. Pour in the slip. For this small tiki I left the slip sit for 30 minutes then poured out the excess and let it sit over night. It can be opened sooner if it dries and pulls away from the sides.

My favorite tool for all things clay is a sticker remover. It cuts clay easily. I use it to smooth clay too. They can be ordered online in sets of 6.

As much as I would like to start some projects with this tiki I have others to finish first. As of yesterday I have contracted with Forbidden Island to produce my Tiki Crate mug and statue for their anniversary party in April 2011.

The molds have been produced by Gecko in Hawaii and will ship here Wednesday.

Nope that's not Gecko he's a friend.

I also am working on my Eat Drink and Be Merry mug which will be my next post on this thread. Every one of the mugs will be an artist proof with a different glaze. That is how I will learn about each glaze and under glaze. More photos soon, Wendy

[ Edited by: danlovestikis 2018-03-19 09:11 ]


Thanks so much for posting this step-by-step - you explain each step very clearly.
Can't wait to get one of those FI crate-tiki mugs!

-Trad'r Bill


Just amazing, Wendy - and one of the best threads ever posted!

WOW, Thanks so much Wendy for the all the details. It's great to share tips. It makes us all better! Keep the posts coming...

Wow! so much goes into mold-making
and you just put your head forward and tackle whatever
jumps into your path!
You are a true Art Magellon
exploring and discovering!
and that Tiki Crate mug is detailed and wonderful!
Go Wendy!

Hey men you are making my head spin but in a good way. Thank each one of you for your fun comments. It's been a long time coming but I want to have a thread that is really fun, informative and shows my art like Little Lost tiki and Babalu.
Tonight I have 44 mugs, 2 hula girls, 4 tikis and hundreds of "L,s" bisqueing. I wonder if that's spelled right. It takes so long to get there but next up I get to play with glazing. I'm super excited to do that.

Kenny, I like your suit, you are such a doll I wish I could have been there for one of your famous hugs.

ebtiki, what a fabulous compliment. I hope I can add more information in the future so that I may be worthy.

Trad'r Bill, I hope to make enough so everyone that wants a Tiki Crate will be able to grab one.

Maui Tiki, you have shown how good you are at glazing on your ornaments/necklaces. I have to live up to that!

Until next time, Wendy

Step by step on the Missionary's Downfall topless hula girl. Dan was my advisor!
She was done with Super Sculpey. I've use it for years and it's fun to have the original to paint and keep. My next project is the Sacramento Crawl ceramic for that I'll use Romo clay which stays soft. The original is destroyed at the end and the clay is reused.

Here goes. Wendy

Gecko came for a visit after Oasis.
He showed me how to change the face so that she was easier to paint later.

I added clay and fine tuned the face.

I baked her too long in the convection oven. She did not become brittle so I was lucky.

I sanded her and then I painted her with acrylic paint so she would be slick.

I sent her to Hawaii and Gecko made a 6 piece mold.

When I got one of the molds I cast two and added clothing to one.

The poor topless girl exploded in the kiln when she was fired.

Until I actually glaze one or Gecko makes some this will be the end for the Missionary's Downfall bowl and hula girl.

[ Edited by: danlovestikis 2010-11-24 09:10 ]

Wendy, I missed your last installment! Great looking mold you've got there. What an AWESOME Crated Tiki Mug! Unique idea and well executed. Waiting for the Hula Girl (did you say topless? :o )

I see that picture of Dan trying to chisel the mold open. I picked up a tip here (probably from Babalu or Bowana - I never can keep those 2 straight :lol: ) about putting some clay wedges to the outside of the mold. It gives you a place to open the mold. Here's a couple pictures that might help illustrate.

At the bottom right of the mold you can see the wedge shaped openeing. Of course it does not extend all the way to the sculpted master.

I have just removed this mold from the form after the second plaster pouring. On the right side of the upper mold half, you can see the clay wedge still stuck in the plaster.

You just stick a screwdriver or butter knife in the hole and give it a little twist, the mold pops open. Let me know if I need to explain better :)


WOW! 'Never saw a step-by-step of this detail before. THANK YOU!

Great work Wendy! Love the work on her hair!

Looking great - I'm sooo sorry about the kiln incident. I've been there myself when I lost 8 at one time!

Those boobs were just too much for the kiln...LOL

that F. I. crate mug is crazy cool.


You are going to get tired of me constantly telling you how amazing your work is! :)
~But I'm still gonna....

Thank you Haole Jim. I love the HGTV building shows so Step by Step is my passion.

zerostreet, so you like her hair like I said I like your Monkey's fur!

Robb Hamel - I missed your ceramics, love your paintings. I had more problems today, I'll show you.

Vamp - those were big enough to blow up, at least the kiln survived.

Iokona Ki'i - Jason, Bai and I picked the same favorite. It's such an emotional painting. I think her sailor just left her for the sea.

ZeroTiki - I never tire of your compliments, thank you. I look at your bird painting every day, it's terrific.

Well we have been busy, a quick trip to Oregon for Thanksgiving to start. When we got back we put up more shelves so I can have more room for drying molds and what I cast. My first six for the Forbidden Island Anniversary party on April 22, 2011 came out fine with only one caving in a bit.



More shelves.

Now on my next set after I poured out the excess slip they started pulling away from the mold sides and collapsed. I could see that by looking in so I just took them out of the molds and let them melt like the witch on Wizard of OZ. My guess is that the molds were still too wet. It's so cold here that they do not dry well even with a fan on them for 24 hours. I need a grow light to heat them.

I have hope that 3 of the 6 I poured today will survive. I'll check on them tomorrow. Thanks again friends, Wendy

[ Edited by: danlovestikis 2010-11-29 01:33 ]

Wendy, I must say your mugs are amazing, and I love the step by step, thank you for sharing and taking the time to show us how it's all done.


Wendy, I hope you got you "slumping" problem solved. You may have to move farther south where the weather is warmer :D

Hi Mike, nope the problem is not solved. I do know that #5 has failed every time. I can see the sides pulling loose before I pour out the excess slip. The defects are at the least very interesting. I have been testing different methods of pouring. At least I get two or three that come out each time. Some of the failures are good on three sides and caved in on the fourth. Sometimes the entire tiki is inside the mold all collapsed. I'll keep working on it. Wendy

I left them in the mold for several days, these are the shapes they were inside the molds all firm and leather hard.

That is weird! Is it always the same mold? The others are working OK?

Hi Mike, No this last time it was three different molds as shown in the three photos. But I do know that number five fails every time. I've written the numbers down so I'll see if I ever get a good cast from one that has failed in the past. I'm going to let them dry out for a few more days then try again. Wendy


They could probably be used as props on a horror movie. :)

FORBIDDEN ISLAND TIKI CRATE: Big time correction. None of the sides were pulling loose after the slip was poured into the mold. I was looking at part of the mug that was indented and miss-interpreting what I was seeing. So every mug that was ruined was because the slip was being poured out too fast and the cast was pulled loose from the sides like a deflating balloon. I did a set where the slip was slowly poured out and they were all perfect. I learn from my mistakes. Thank you Poptiki, MadDogMike and Gecko for all your helpful suggestions. Wendy

PS Swizzle you are giving me ideas

[ Edited by: danlovestikis 2010-12-06 10:42 ]


Hi Wendy, love this thread! I've only had this happen once and it was because I was in a rush and poured out the slip too early. It was just too thin and wet to hold itself up. I was able to tilt the mold during the drying process and saved the bowl. Also it helps if the plaster is really dry to soak up the moisture from the clay. I like to leave my molds out in the hot Maui sun during the day, because I usually pour at night after work. Good to hear you've got it worked out. Must be nice to have so many friends helping you out. I wish I could get Gecko to make molds for me!

Great job, Keep it up!

YAY WENDY!!!! Glad you solved your problem! In hindsight, I guess there is no way that it could pull away from the mold while it was full - it would have to collapse after the excess slip was poured out.

Now it's full steam ahead

Thank you MauiTiki and MadDogMike, I have needed help. I'm posting on the Sacramento Crawl Thread my step by step in making the Crawl Decanter. Dan and I will be doing our first mold (of the decanter) in the future and it will have 6 pieces. We may practice on something easier first. I will post photos for the Decanter on that thread any thing else will go here.

The train is on the track, we are pouring super slow and nothing but success now.

Dan does the heavy work and clean up. So what's left for me? I supervise!
His motto is "Will Work For Tikis" so I have to make a couple for him.

We are starting to see progress as the shelves start to fill. Cheers, Wendy

PS MauiTiki is cold and rainy here, you lucky guy living in paradise

[ Edited by: danlovestikis 2010-12-10 10:53 ]


Awesome awesome awesome pretty awesome cool!

So there. :)


Ahhhh I now know what you did. You poured to fast and got the Glug Glug. I've never experienced this but Gecko told me about it. The suction from the Glug Glug caused the clay to pull from the sides.

No sunshine in Maui today, hopefully I can do some glazing this weekend.

Keep up the good work!

Thank you Zerotiki and Maui Tiki, you fellows are special and I love your art.

Every day we are up early to pour the Forbidden Island mugs. VampiressRn said her favorite photos I've posted are on my carving thread and feature Dan sweeping. When she found out that Dan is now mopping she requested a photo. Hey Vamp you said Dan is a fashionista, you are right check out his shoes! Wendy

He is also pouring them since I hurt my thumb.

We are half way to my goal of 50 mugs and 50 statues.

More glaze testing.

Quality control.

[ Edited by: danlovestikis 2010-12-13 14:45 ]

Krikeeeeeee...you guys are cranking em out...what a team!!! Yeah Wendy.

Dan....orange you glad you had those shoes on for that photo op!!! And the hose picture is simply mesmerizing. :lol:


Start Firing those Crates! Nobody said you had to pour all 50 before you could go on to the next step. Get to the fun part, then you'll be inspired to pour more.

We want to see some finished ones!


Lookin' good!

MauiTiki, I'm looking forward to the next step too. We are working all day every day. There is a huge space issue when it comes to making so many ceramics. We are in the process of placing shelves in every nook and cranny of the garage.

The crates are just starting to dry. Most of them are not there yet. When we are done with all the shelves I will start carving to fine tune them and as I do that I will load them into the kiln. When I have a load I will bisque them. Then I'll do all my test glazing. I'm getting close. Today we will put up another 6 shelves. Here's a photo of Dan as we finished putting up three shelves on Tuesday. Thanks for caring.

Vamp, he has red shoes too! ebTiki, thanks for checking in. Wendy


So I've been wondering ... why is it that Dan's doing all the work in your pix?

Hi ebTiki, he's in all the photos because I also enjoy photography. One time (1980's) he walked the runway in a modeling competition. As you can see here he still has a gift for posing!

I do my share of the work I just haven't documented it yet. We put up the last shelf. This one will be used to store molds that are not in use. Wendy

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