• kevin_stafford_kbcs_44_1

I said my goodbyes to the recent group of wax models. One by one they sank into the deep fryer only to be spooned back out as shapeless liquid to return to the form of the pucks from which they started.

Did I say slip casting? The universe had other plans.

When I went to use the casting slip I had mixed, it has an ominous layer of foam on top. Then I captured a huge amount of a dark granular contaminant when I went to sieve some into a jug. It’s normal to catch a few dark grains but never this much. It looked like black sand. I saved a sample to put in the next firing to see what happens.

Is this a result of material contamination at the mine? If so, which material is it? Is it a bio-mould product? Was the foam evidence of fermentation? It’s not magnetic but will it leave fired evidence? Need to find some answers before I decide what to do with this batch of slip.

This was the opportunity I needed to start press moulding. I must say I am liking how the press moulded forms feel in the hands. Pressing is a fun and challenging activity. Way more satisfying than slip casting.

Already rethinking numbers. The smallest would be nice as a wine cup. To be priced competitively, I need to make more than twenty. Could go as high as fifty to keep the unit price down. I expect overall numbers from each new mould to get smaller as the size increases. They are being numbered sequentially until I decide I have enough of each. Edition sizes may vary between the nine.

In some ways pressing is faster than slip casting. Other ways not. Pressing lets you focus on one at a time or a small group. I managed as many as ten copies from a single mould in a day. With slip casting it would have been one or two.

It wasn’t until cleaning up the forms I discovered how precarious the balance was for the wide medium sized bowl. I started to build up the forehead on the exterior but found it awkward.  Instead I carved that area deeper into the mould and scrapped the first six while the clay could still be recycled.

I have been carving the interiors when leather hard to even out the walls where needed. These are not the hollow, even walled shells I described in an earlier post. These are something much more substantial and powerful.

Usually when I am making the work, I am picturing the glazes. I’m having trouble here because I can’t quite make up my mind whether these are functional or art bowls. I will have to decide this on a case by case basis as I make my way through the nine forms.

Have three moulds still to try. Time is running out to meet the deadline. I will have what I have when it gets here.