09 February 2015


Synthetic fabric is gathered into cylinders, to be dipped into porcelain slip in ceramics class this evening - and to help hold its shape, the billows can be set in place by steaming. I've been helping them keep their shape at this stage by using some supports in the steamer - and what I discovered right away is that plastic bottles, which can be cut to the right height for fitting into my makeshift rig, quickly warp under the heat of the steam, like the one in the front of the photo -
The tin can is almost too high for standing upright in the pot - the cloth that holds it shouldn't be touching the water at the bottom of the pot. But it seems to work, as long as the cylinder is the right size for fitting over it. (A soft drink can could be cut to the right height - but the edges might be lethal!) The plain fabric with loops probably doesn't need steaming but will get it as soon as I've punched holes through the cloth (to help the slip penetrate and maybe do some patterning). 

Some of the gathering is done with thread, some with thin wire, which I hope will leave a bit of colour in the clay. It's all experimental and under development - as I see what happens, I try more of the same or a variation thereof, moving towards ... what? By week 10 I hope to have found out how to make an item big enough to hold in two hands ... and how to get it home safely.

The loose strings are for hanging up the dipped fabric to drip - they are cut off before firing. The loops on the plain cylinder might, or might not, be able to hold cords for hanging; we'll see.

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