So what can I tell you today? Well first of all, we’re going to be selling pots at the Autumn Craft Fair at Hatton Shopping Village tomorrow and Sunday, so if you’re close please come and see us.
I’m still working on adding relief pictures of animals to my pots, so that’s taking up time. The process I’ve evolved is to trace my picture onto tissue paper using a water based felt tip pen. That means is will transfer to a slab of soft clay if you lay it over and rub it down. (Tissue paper is handy for transferring designs to pots too, as it will curve around the pot and stick to it quite nicely). Then I cut out the shape of the animal, remembering not to make any undercuts, and draw in the main details using a scribing or carving tool. If I leave it too long the clay will absorb the pen lines, so they need marking in before they disappear. The clay then needs to dry a little before I can start shaping it. Somehow, just by carving down to the lines and adding the occasional high spot it begins to look like the image I began with, but in flat 3D.
Once the original has dried I bisque fire it and use it to make the first mould. The original will usually drop out of the mould quite easily as long as there are no undercuts. I leave the mould for a day or so to harden, then trim the edges to make it more shallow, tidy up any rough areas and add any details that are easier to put on a negative.
Once the mould has been bisqued I use it to make a new shallow copy. This is how the clay sprig would look if you fixed it to a pot, but at this stage I put it on a new flat slab of clay, and tidy up any details that look wrong. This copy can then be used to make a second mould that has nice flat edges and is easier to use to make the sprigs for my pots.
The useful thing is that each iteration of mould and copy gets smaller in the kiln, so I can keep going until it is the perfect size, or make myself a series of different sized moulds to fit different pots.
Here’s a video of my kiln opening on Monday – it shows some of the animal sprigs at the end.
Thanks for reading.