Inuit ornaments

Trim your tree with handcrafted Inuit ornaments that are fun for the whole family to make.

By Ann Bouffard

Bird, owl and walrus

The figurative drawings of the Inuit inspired Ann Bouffard to design a charming collection of bakers clay ornaments for her tree.

You need:
• Toothpicks
• Black peppercorns
• Paper clip
• Wire or hairpins
• Small pointed knife
• Foil
• Spatula
• Baking sheet
• Polyurethane varnish (optional)
• Baker's clay (recipe below)

Baker's clay (Makes 12 to 14 pieces)
1 cup (250 mL) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (125 mL) salt
1/2 cup (125 mL) water

To make:
Mix together ingredients for clay to form a soft dough. Working on a floured board, knead until smooth, about 8 to 10 minutes. Clay is very workable and can be easily bent, pinched or moulded into desired shapes. All pieces are flattened to between 6 mm (1/4-in) and 13 mm (1/2-in) thickness. To attach pieces, moisten with a little water.

Lift finished figures onto foil with spatula and place on baking sheet. Bake in 250F (120C) oven for 4 to hours or until thoroughly dry. Finish with varnish if desired.

TO SHAPE FIGURES:

Bird
1. Body: Roll a ball of clay 4 cm (1-1/2 in) in diameter. Roll this out into a 10 cm (4-in) teardrop shape with points at both ends. Pinch ends to finer points for tail and beak. Lift head up and push slightly toward back to give bird a chest. Press in peppercorn for eye.

2. Wing: Roll a ball of clay 2 cm (3/4 in) in diameter. Roll this out into a 7.5 cm (3-in) teardrop shape. Attach to body. Curve wing and tail up slightly toward back. With knife, mark feathers on wing.

3. Claws: Roll 2 tiny balls into short lengths. Attach to underside of body and bend tips downward (see photo).

4. Make a small U-shaped loop from wire or hairpin. Moisten and insert into top of bird, slightly forward on body for balance.

Owl
1. Body: Roll a 4 cm ball into a 7.5 cm teardrop shape. Flatten with heel of hand to approx 13 mm thickness.

2. Head: Roll a 2 cm ball. Flatten and attach to wide end of body. Pinch front of head to form owl face (see photo). Press in peppercorns for eyes. Blend head into body by rubbing area with moistened finger.

3. Wing: Roll a 2 cm ball into a 6.5 cm (2-1/2-in) teardrop shape. Flatten and attach to body. With knife, mark feathers on wing and body.

4. Claws: Roll 2 pea-size balls into short lengths. Attach to underside of body and bend tips downward.

5. Moisten and insert wire loop into top of head.

Walrus
1. Body: Roll a 4 cm ball into a 10 cm teardrop shape. Flatten slightly. Pinch at wide end for neck and at pointed end for base of tail. With knife, slit tail in half and mark in dentations.

2. Head: Raise head and push slightly toward back (see photo). If head will not stay up, clay is too moist - add flour and try again. Poke holes for snout with toothpick. Press in peppercorns for eyes.

3. Tusks: Roll 2 very tiny teardrop shapes and attach to head on either side of snout.

4. Fin: Roll a pea-size ball into a teardrop shape. Attach to lower body; mark indentations with knife.

5. Moisten and insert wire loop into top of body.

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