Insert a bail. Insert an embeddable fine-silver bail into the top of the head .
NOTE: If you don’t have a fine-silver embeddable bail, you can make your own bail using 16- or 18-gauge (1.3 or 1.0 mm) fine-silver wire. Cut a 25.5 mm (1-in.) piece of wire, and grasp it at its midpoint with roundnose pliers. Bend the wire in half over the jaw of the pliers, then use flat-nose pliers to twist the ends of the wire together a few times below the round-nose pliers’ jaws. Insert the twisted ends into the wet clay.
Reinforce the joins. Carefully brush a little water on each of the points where the eyes, beak, tufts, and wing join the body. Place the owl on a mug warmer, or let it air dry until it’s completely dry.
NOTE: You don’t need to wet the bail area. That join is fine silver against clay, not clay on clay, so the moisture doesn’t help seal the seam.
If necessary, use a toothpick or a clay shaper to apply fresh clay to any gaps in the joins to reinforce the connection . If there are any recessed areas, creases, or cracks in the clay after drying, use a clay shaper to fill these with fresh clay. Again, allow the owl to dry completely.
Refine the pendant. Put on a dust mask, and use a superfine sanding pad to gently refine the surface of the owl, making sure to retain the body’s roundness. Use an ultrafine sanding pad to smooth the body even further.
Fire and finish the pendant. Place the pendant on a kiln shelf, and fire it according to the clay manufacturer’s instructions. Allow the pendant to cool completely in the kiln.
NOTE: A kiln shelf works well for this piece because the back of the owl is flat. For objects that have no flat back, use a kiln-safe fiber blanket. Do not torch-fire this piece; it is quite thick, so it will not sinter well with just a torch.
Sand the surface of the pendant with sandpaper or sandpaper pads, scrub it with a stainless steel or brass brush, or tumble it with steel shot and burnishing compound to give it the texture your desire. Apply a liver of sulfur patina to highlight the texture, and use a polishing cloth or fine-grit sandpaper to remove the patina as desired. Thread a chain through the bail.