Creation & Aftercare: Everything You Need to Know About Adopting a Kent Coast Ghost!
How are Kent Coast Ghosts Made?
- First, they are completely handcrafted from raw, air-dry clay.
All Kent Coast Ghosts are made from air dry clay. We use this because it's such a natural product; good clay is like a fine wine! It's also super friendly for the environment unlike polymer clays, and we're all about creating art that works in harmony with our planet. Every day makes working with the clay different. It can be affected by heat, cold, humidity, and even our own body temperature! This not only makes each ghost unique in its own right, but also takes on a certain amount of 'living history' from the day it was made, and that's why we love working with clay!
Of course, that also comes with it's own challenges... In the hot weather, we need to ensure the clay stays moist as it dries quickly on the outside, but too much moisture will cause the clay to crack as it hardens on the outside. In cold weather, the opposite can happen. This is why we like to allow a decent drying time from hand-moulding our ghosts, right up to the sanding phase, and it's also why we like to allow some breathing room when we're giving you a time for your custom creations!
- Next; we sand!
Once we're certain that the clay has fully dried, we reach the sanding phase. This part is really important, as it lays the base for whatever we will put on top, and it also ensures that we can get rid of any lumps or bumps that may have occurred during the drying process.
We start with quite a harsh grit in order to perfect the shape, and we work our way down through to a finer grit in order to get a silky-smooth finish. This is one of the most time-consuming parts, as we have to sand each ghost 3-4 times in order to get the finish perfect!
Once the sanding is finished, each ghost is brushed with a fine brush to remove all traces of clay dust - we don't want them getting caught in the paint at the next stage...
This is my favourite part, (apart from sending them out to their new homes, of course!). The ghosts are first given an undercoat in either black or white. This effectively seals them, and makes the paint on top more vibrant. It needs to be left to dry thoroughly, (yes, more drying!), before we can add the top coat.
The 'top coat' doesn't mean the final coat; sometimes we use paint in layers to give a specific effect, and at the very least we give two coats of the top coat in order to achieve the perfect finish. Each layer also has to be left to dry, preferably over-night, in order for the next coat to be added. This process can take several days in itself to get the desired finish, especially if we're painting a scene or complex pattern.
- Now it's varnish time...
Once every single layer has been painted and left to fully dry, we add a top-coat. This can be a matt or gloss varnish, or even a phosphorescent finish! Each layer of this also has to be left to dry, (so we fully understand the phrase "I'd rather watch paint dry - we often do!), and it can take 2-4 coats before we're fully happy with the finish.
- To jar, or not to jar?
Whilst the varnishing is the end of the creation process for some of our ghosts, for others, it's just the start... The next part is popping them in to jars, or as I like to call it; bottling!
Some of the scenery is added into the jar first. This has to be done carefully with tweezers so we can position it exactly right. The, guess what?! It's left to dry again! It doesn't always need to dry fully before we pop in your ghost, but we do like to give the jar another clean a this stage as often the natural moss that we use still has a little life left and can leave a residue on the side of the glass.
Once your ghostie is carefully in position, we add the rest of his belongings, and then leave him to dry one final time before sealing him in permanently. And once that part is done, his jar is decorated and given a final polish, that's it. The ghost is finally ready to find a new home to haunt!
Every single part of this process is completed by me, by hand. There are no machines used, (unless something needs to be made as a 'prop'), and the same love, care and attention goes into every single ghost that is created. That's why it's especially important to know how to care for your ghost once he arrives!
How do I care for my ghost?
Ghosts are super easy to look after, but there are a few important points to note in order to prevent them turning in to pesky poltergeists...
Just like Gremlins, please never water your ghost! Although our ghosts are fully sealed with varnish, they are still made from air-dry clay and are not kiln-fired, so we'll never say they're entirely waterproof. This also applies to dishwashers - ghosts don't like being washed, particularly with dishes, so please don't try!
To clean your ghost, just take a cloth and pop a tiny amount of water on, so it's on the drier side of moist. Carefully and gently rub it over your ghost, wiping off any dust or grease that may have stuck, and be sure to dry gently but thoroughly afterward.
Try not to leave them directly in the sunlight. We've not talking Dracula levels of dark, or they can only come out at night, but despite using a UV protective varnish, paint can fade, and varnish can yellow after periods of time. On the flip side, if your ghost glows in the dark, charging him up in UV light to get his glow on is perfectly fine, just not for prolonged periods.
If your ghost came in its own jar, please leave it in there and do not remove the cork! You just don't know what sort of trouble the little ghoul might get into, so it's always better to be safe than sorry. You can clean the outside of the jar though - they like to be able to see what they're missing.
Please don't give your ghost to children. These ghosts are ornamental and may have small parts that small mouths like to eat. They're also very haunted, and you've seen the movies - 'haunted' and 'children' just don't mix.
They don't need feeding, but some may enjoy a ritual sacrifice to their specific gods once in a while. This is entirely between you and your ghost... We cannot take responsibility for sacrifices or soul-selling.
If you need any more advice on how to care for your ghost, just pop us a message and we'll be happy to answer any questions you have!