Friday, 26 October 2012

Experiments with clay...

I thought I'd share some more experiments in clay from my ceramics course...






The top image is a platter, wonky as it is, made by rolling out clay, imprinting it, in this case with a felt 'placemat', turning it over onto a mould to get the shape, firing it and then I glazed it with a clear glaze (as I'm using a white clay).

The next two images are sweet little pieces made using moulds... again, the clay is rolled out to the desired thickness then gently worked into the mould to get the shape. I handpainted the coloured underglaze and after they were fired they were coated with a clear glaze. I'm really loving this yellow, I mixed it myself...

The bottom two images are bigger experiments... using moulds again but this time with the slip casting method. An earthenware slip was used... these are pretty much complete failures as the slip was too thick and we left them in there too long so the forms are quite thick... but more so the insides are not smooth. The cylindrical vase got a bit damaged with the air gun, used to coax stubborn forms out of moulds, and so they really are just big experiments and won't really be anything as finished forms... which is why I'm taking the experiment further and cutting in the square one just to muck around some more.

However, the most exciting part was printing on clay. The waratah is my design... it can be found on this eco-friendly greeting card. Here I have screen printed it onto tissue paper with an underglaze printing ink... the words are from a screen my teacher had and look quite nice too.

This is what I have been working towards... finding a method I can use, as someone with limited skill, to build up a stock of shapes that I can print on... with the intent of selling them as part of my product range... this will be a long way off yet... probably not until next year... but it all has to start somewhere... the method has to be found, prototypes have to be made and then production can begin.

If I could form beautiful, consistent shapes on the wheel I would do so but this will take years to master which is why the moulds and slip casting method was chosen. I'm still not 100% sure this is the path I will take... we cast two more this week to see if we get a better result but it is still quite a slow process if I am wanting to use it commercially and keeping in mind that this is just one product line so I can't devote all my time to it. The other option is to purchase greenware / bisqueware in the desired shapes (or have some custom made) so then all I have to do is print, glaze and fire...

It's all a learning curve and quite an enjoyable one at that!