The order for this chess set came from Sint Petersburg, sort of the city of chess, that made me really proud. It has owls and some elephants. First is was only owls, but we changed the bishops during the creation to be elephants instead.
Usually I start making the pieces from scratch. I don’t make a lot of sketches on paper, sometimes a few very rough ones to get a feel for the sizes and dimensions of an animal. As long as the porcelain isn’t fired I can make changes or reuse it. Pictures like the ones below are send to the customer to keep track of the progress and make changes if need be.
Above, the original bishop an owl on top of books in white, on either side of the black queen the elephants. The black pieces are grey until they are high fired. In the end we choose for elephants sitting on books with a tiny owl on their paw or trunk.
All pieces and the tiles for the board are fired twice. I apply glaze here and there to high light details before the second firing. Below the finished pieces, the ties are set in an oak frame.
The pieces are arranged in a felt lined box and foam balls keep them from shifting in transit. The box goes into a second box with protective material. the board is wrapped too. Both go in a third box with more protective material. I post a lot of air ;)