Sunday, June 17, 2012

Slip Casting with a Twist - the details

I wanted to talk to you about Slip Casting last week but I just didn't feel right without the pictures on hand. Now that I have taken a few in the "second stage' we are ready to talk. Let me walk you through.

First off, you need to be warned that I am totally in love with this technique (and a lot more.....but that's a different story for another time).  I learnt this technique from the most generous soul.  His name is Ray. He doesn't hold back and keeps pouring his knowledge out.

Here are the steps......

1. Form - find an object (could be a wine bottle, a bowl, a rock, etc). And that will be the form and shape of your work.

2. Texture - decide on the texture you would like to replicate.  It does have limitation.  It could be some napkin, kitchen paper, a washcloth with various texture / pattern, a rope, anything that can absorb moisture.  I use my worn out lace-pattern undershirt as well.

3. Let's say I'm using kitchen paper and a huge wine bottle. First warp the wine bottle with all these kitchen paper. You would need a bunch of kitchen paper to warp around the bottle. I forgot to take a picture of this step to show you.  Then use lots and lots of newspaper to warp around the kitchen paper-covered wine bottle tightly.  They serve 2 purposes. A. to hold the form and B. to absorb all the liquid / moisture from the slip.

4. Then pull the wine bottle out and you are left with the shape of the bottle (your mold)

5. Apply slip (this slip is a bit thicker than what we usually use for normal slip casting) with a brush and  get them on gently on the inside of your mold.  Try not to lose your form too much.

6. Here is a short-cut. Instead of waiting for the slip to dry, you can put it in your microwave say for 2 minutes. It will be a bit streamy when it comes out.  Let it dry and cool down a bit.  You may see cracks but that's perfectly fine.  I always do a second coating. So repeat steps 5 & 6.

7.  The above picture shows you what it looks like after 2 coatings in the microwave.  That beautiful texture and natural folds of the cloth will be captured as well.  Again you may see cracks after the second coating cool down. Don't panic.  You are doing great so far.  When it is not streamy and hot, pour in the slip like we always do.  Then do what we usually do, tap slightly to let air or tiny bubbles out.  See picture below.

8. Depends on how thick or thin you want the wall to be.  You can also see the thickness of the wall. I wait around 10 to 15 minutes, sometimes close to 20 minutes, then pour out the slip. Now this is a real tricky step because when you pour out, the wall and bottom may fall out as well.  The whole thing is still very fragile.  So you need to adjust to the speed, "listen" to your work and go with the flow. It's ok that it takes on a different shape. It may be more interesting.

9. Let it sits for a day or 2 to dry. You really need to make your own judgement on this.  The next step is to tear away the newspaper warping and very gently tear away the kitchen paper.

This is what it looks like when it is dried and ready for un-molding. I have taken away the newspaper layer but you can still see the kitchen paper attaching.

I'm half-way done. See all the torn-out paper in the back. The texture and winkles come through beautifully.

Little pieces that I tore off which are great for ear rings. I love the naturalness in them.

There you have it. A kitchen paper bowl.

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