Mold making and slip casting were the order of the day today – our first introduction to the ceramics facilities, and in my case, my first foray into ceramics at all. We started by making our molds out of plaster from an object we brought in. Not knowing anything about what we were doing, or how the technique worked I picked possibly the worst object of all time. We decided to have a go with it anyway – as a “learning experience”!
The plaster molds were made last week and left to dry thoroughly. I was new to this blogging lark so neglected to take photos of the process. Perhaps this was in the best interests of my camera considering the mess we made! This morning, the molds came out of the drying cupboard and filled with the rather exciting substance of liquid clay, or slip. After 15 minutes the molds were upturned and the leftover slip removed. When then had an hour to wait for the clay to set and see what we had ended up with. This is the point where you begin to understand that the quality of your final output depends on the quality of your mold, which is also dependent on the shape and complexity of your original object. My challenge with the object meant this wasn’t the neatest mold ever made, but it was at least functional. So, this was the result:
Well, what do you think? He is a cute little dinosaur, but won’t win any awards for tidyness. At least, I now have a much better understanding of what slip casting can (and can’t) do. Unfortunately, just after taking this photo the weight of the poor dino’s very solid clay-filled brain, caused the head to snap off – what was a very narrow neck and always likely to be a weak spot for the cast. I have tried to fix it with more clay as a glue, and we shall see if it survives the drying process….