Thursday, 30 January 2014


After several attempts at prototypes, I am finally happy with curves, thickness and the shape of my triangles. It is great to be making in clay again, although it is hard to imagine how the finished object will look. Image in my mind is still pretty vague. And it keeps changing. 

Plaster moulds are ready, and making begins:

extruding coils
pressing coils in the mould.
Notice the clay triangle at the top? It is there to distinguish that corner so I can assemble the sphere correctly. 

smoothing and "knitting" together

strengthening the edges

filling in corners

cutting off excess clay with the cutting wire

leveling edges with metal ruler

making porcelain slip "bubble"

I love doing this!

pressing a nut in the corners
I'm hoping to use this to assemble the triangles together after firings.

adding porcelain bubble
 This is just for visual fun. Bottom of the triangles will be visible through the holes in the sphere, and it can't be glazed. 

marking future cutting line
Those edges will need to be trimmed later, so the triangles will fit together on an angle, forming a sphere.

ready for drying
 As it dries, clay shrinks , making it easy to take out of the mold. However, if I don't take it out of the mould at the right time, clay will shrink too much and form will break, as the shape of the mould will prevent it from contracting.

out of the mould
Clay is still very soft at this stage so it is easily deformed. Drawing on the board will assure the shape is not distorted

drying near the window
 but not in the full sun

applying porcelain slip

fun and very messy bit

dry and ready for bisque firing

Here in Perth, Western Australia, we are in the middle of hot dry summer. With temperatures in 35o C– 38oC range for days (we have reached 42oC couple of weeks ago) clay is drying very fast. Sometimes too fast.
But at least I don’t have to wait for weeks in order for the work to dry for firing.
Yes, clay has to be absolutely dry before it goes in the electric kiln. (gas firing is slightly different, but that is a conversation for some other time). If there is even a little bit of moisture left in the middle of the thickest part of the object, it will quickly turn into the steam in the kiln and explode into rubble. Ceramists and potters have to learn patience and perseverance. I rarely win arguments with clay.

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