Grail and Hearts

I hate clay. completely. I may be over-reacting, or misplacing judgement, maybe I’ll re-evaluate later.

I really love pottery, many of my favorite artists are ceramists, but a truly hate working with clay. Especially when I have to make a plaster mold around it. I tried to give it a chance, but I love wax more. This may be because I don’t have a lot of experience with working in clay, so I leave it too wet, or too dry, or any other multitude of wrong decisions, so maybe I should take a class on sculpting in clay, and I would love it more but right now clay sucks.

So, this firing has 3 molds of wax hearts in it to be used in the stems of goblets. The positives were wax, made from a Poyo mold. They were 40% Plaster and 60% silica. The Molds were made, steamed and packed on Sunday December 6th. They fired beautifully.

The larger mold in the middle of the kiln was my “grail for the soul,” right. So, clay positive, it worked out OK. it was a bowl-like form made of raven’s wings. It seemed like the right thing for me for this idea, wrapping up my identity in thought and memory, which are obscuring. They were to be cast in clear, and tinted with something black to make the detail come out.

So, I built a dam around it it with crazy carpets, and poured the outside, and the core of the three-part mold. While the plaster was setting, the whole clay positive fell apart. Probably because I suck with clay. Maybe it was too wet? Maybe the moisture was uneven? Anyways, in trying to put it all back together while it was in the plaster, I made a massive mess of plaster everywhere, and destroyed the texture. At this point I think, “whatever, as long as you can maintain some semblance of the form, you can engrave the texture.” Right. I’m crazy.

So, cut registration keys, and resisted the mold with vaseline, and poured the third part. That wet well, at least.

De-molding also went well, the mold came apart easily, I would use vaseline instead of clay slip in the future, I was able to get my mold apart on my own.

In getting the clay out of the mold, a thing layer of plaster also came off the inside of the mold, where it has been mixed with clay because of all my poking and prodding while the first part of the mold was setting to get it to fit back together. Other than that, with some soaking, the clay came out pretty easily.

I filled the mold and a flowerpot with glass, and didn’t measure it, because I was upset.

I’m re-doing this in wax later.

The molds were fired in kiln #4 on the following schedule:
1. 2:00 to 90
2. 10:00 to 100
3. 14:00 @ 100
4. 20:00 to 600
5. 21:00 @ 600 (pull vent)
6. 21:01 to 850
7. 30:00 @ 850
8. 30:01 – 515
9. 38:00 @ 515
10. 54:30 -375
11. 63:00 – 50

The program was started at 22:15 on Sunday December 6, and unpacked at 13:00 on Friday December 11th.

All the hearts turned out beautifully. I love salmon. Each of the heart molds was charged with a flowerpot of 400g of hotshop cullett leftover from my blown hearts, so clear and Salmon coloured. They all de-molded nicely, and Im going to pick them up in the hotshop on Sunday the 13th.

The Grail mold was intact, no cracks, de-molded nicely, and completely filled. So, in my mind this means that everything not related to clay went great. The piece sucked because the form was ruined by my molding mess and the detail was gone. Again, I’m re-doing it in wax in the new year.

The photos of this firing are in the following album, there aren’t a lot of them, mostly because I was distracted by plaster messes:

Grail and Hearts

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