Handbuilt Fundamentals Shoe

Designer: Bailie Benson



  1. Split the pound and a half of low fire white clay in half.
  2. Set one half aside and cover.
  3. Roll out a slab about a quarter inch thick.
  4. Compress the slab with a plastic card.
  5. Carve out a shape like the sole of a shoe from the slab.
  6. Roll excess clay cut from the slab into a long coil.
  7. Scratch and attach the coil along the edge of the shoe shape.
  8. Smooth the coil out along the inner and outer edges to connect to the shoe sole as one solid piece.
  9. Using your thumb, press in a bare foot shape to the inside of the sole slab as if it had been stepped on.
  10. Flip the sole over and carve detail into the bottom.
  11. Cover the sole of the shoe and set aside.
  12. Take the other half of the clay and roll it out into a slab.
  13. Compress the slab with the plastic card.
  14. Cut two long rectangles to serve as the straps.
    1. Strap 1 (front strap) should be about an inch wide.
    2. Strap 2 (back strap) should be about an inch and a half wide.
  15. Cut down the strap rectangles to fit the width of the shoe allowing for a little lift in the center.
  16. Roll out a long coil and cut into 10 sections to form the buckles for the straps.
  17. Scratch and attach the 4 sections of coil together in a square to create the frame of a buckle.
  18. Add a single section of coil to the center of the buckle to form the prong.
  19. Repeat steps 17 and 18 for the second buckle.
  20. Scratch and attach buckles to the straps.
  21. Add any details to the straps (stitch lines, carvings, etc)
  22. Remove the sole of the sandal from under the cover.
  23. Scratch and attach the straps and buckles to the sole.
  24. Using a soft fan brush, apply three coats of UG34 to the top of sole of the shoe and the edges.
  25. When the third coat has lost its sheen, take a tissue or soft cloth and burnish the foot imprint.
  26. Using the soft fan brush, apply two coats of UG 50 to the bottom of the shoe and up the sides buy a quarter of an inch.
  27. Apply three coats of UG219 to the straps (avoiding the buckles) with a soft fan and script liner brush.
  28. Apply three coats of UG236 to the buckles with a script liner brush.
  29. Using the rounded back of a brush, apply dots of UG1 to the straps, followed by smaller dots of UG 51 over the top.
  30. Using the tip of a detail liner brush, apply smaller dots of UG1 over the white dots.
  31. Using the script liner brush, apply 2 coats of S2101 to the black on the sides of the shoe and the grey buckles.
  32. Allow to dry.
  33. Fire to cone 04.



  • 1.5lbs low fire clay


  • UG050 Black
  • UG034 Chestnut Brown
  • UG001 Kings Blue
  • UG051 China White
  • UG219 Marine Blue
  • UG236 Grey
  • S2101 Crystal Clear Brushing

Decorating Accessories

  • RB106 Script Liner brush
  • RB144 Soft Fan brush
  • CB202 Detail Liner brush

Miscellaneous Accessories

  • Sponge
  • Water
  • Rolling pin
  • Plastic card
  • Toothpick
  • Bowl of water
  • Soft tissue or cloth