I made this clay Rainbow Trout for a friend. It's supposed to be a dish/tray of sorts.. although may have been better off as a wall-hanger.
I tried all sorts of objects to prop it up accordingly, in an attempt to maintain the 'tray' shape while drying: jewelry gift boxes, spoons, toothbrush cases, wooden ladle, the list goes on. I think this was the hardest part.. in the process, one of the fins broke. I had to reattach it with more clay. It worked, but barely.
I used the Oven Craft type clay, as I don't have access to a kiln. I've used it before and it works well for my purposes. When it was finished baking I painted it with watered down acrylic paint so the terra cotta color would show through (complete with silver wash for a fishy sheen). After painting, i put a coat of clear glaze on top. I used the shiny kind as I thought it might look more like real ceramic glaze... but I was wrong. In the future I will use the pearl finish glaze. The circular globs on the underside are intended to help prop the fish up into it's tray shape once solidified and displayed (again, the most complicated part).
Some day I will try my hand at more abstract clay shapes.