Foray into Ocarina-Making

Recently I’ve been itching to play with some clay, particularly for making an ocarina (Yes, like that wonderful magical instrument that Link plays in The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time).

My first attempt was somewhat of a success, meaning it played notes and stuff, but I found out later that polymer clay was toxic. Most ocarina-makers use ceramic clay that needs to be fired at over 1000 degrees in a kiln, but since I don’t have access to one of these, I bought “ovencraft” clay that can be┬ábaked in the oven. The ocarina I made is modeled after Saria’s Fairy ocarina.

I tried to tune the ocarina as best I could, and while the model was still soft, managed to get this not-quite-right “scale” of E F G A A# B F G G# A B. After cooking, some notes became a bit higher due to shrinking: E F# G# A A# B F# G G# A A#. So it sounds off key on some notes.

I am pleased with how it looks though. The baked clay can be painted with acrylics, water color, or any sort of finishing that can be used on wood, so I painted the triangle on the mouthpiece with green acrylic.

In any case, the final ocarina smells a bit off so I’m concerned that this one could be toxic too. On the label it says sanded down parts of the fired piece contains crystalline silica, which is a chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer.

Looks like I might need to get new clay?