Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Bottle Cap Wisdom

Hey Everyone, Double post today! How exciting!!

It’s interesting when you clean out a ceramics cabinet that probably hasn’t been touched since 2009. It’s interesting in a sense, because you get a feel for the person who was teaching before you came along and reorganized their happy and just fine mess.

It’s amazing what kind of items were brought in to teach textures. I kept running into pieces of slate, porous uneven stones, combs, bottle caps, pieces of bark, even a couple of forks. I kept them all, but took an interest in the metal bottle caps. I never really thought of using the bottle caps as a texture, but in a couple of pieces I tried them out and experimented around.

There has also been a small inventory of slip casting molds that have been found around the Houston House. I’ve been using the molds for slip casting, which works like this:

You have a plaster mold, often in two (or more) pieces. Then you have Slip, which is nothing more than watered down clay with a few more added ingredients that’s been sifted a few times. The plaster mold is able to grab onto the slip after it is poured in, because the plaster soaks up the slip almost like a sponge, and once it reaches it’s limit, then it begins to solidify, so that huge puddle of slip you just poured in, now has been sucked into the mold, leaving a hollow casting inside the mold.

It’s a magnificent thing.

Anyways, this entry isn’t about molds, but I wanted to share for those scratching their heads when I said, “Slip casting molds.” I’m able to use some of the molds as a push and peel mold, which work out quite nicely for some unique pieces with some smaller details.

My first piece was a slab built vase, which the base of it was cut wrong, so it looks a bit like a deflating fish, so I’m not too crazy about it, but it has some of the bottle cap textures to it.

I was really pleased with the second piece, which is a pinch pot that has been folded in the middle to create two spouts. Unfortunately, as I am writing to you, the other night after it was set out to dry, I came in to find a HUGE crack down the top from spout to spout, so the tiny handle is gone, and I’m going to try and mend the crack with some stoneware slip this weekend since the piece is still in the leather hard stage.

So, it figures that my favorite pieces tries to bite the dusty garbage bin before it's full potential is fired out in the kiln.

Thankfully, I have a whole brand new 50lb box of clay, so there's no tears here.

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