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dac final 1st year triumph 
3rd-Dec-2006 08:08 pm
  In another brazen attempt to be not only 'cool', but also hip and funky, I used the final week of studio time to create Christmas decorations.

these finely crafted egg shapes display all the hard effort and learning i have gained throughout the year. they're all on sale at our pottery sale this week.

I'd hope they all sell but if they don't i may well ebay the remainder - or email me and we'll work something out...

anyhoo onto the process (which is after all far more fascinating than the end result ;)
In this case it all starts with a plaster mould. using 60 hrs worth of class time to learn how to do things 'the right way' i threw that out the window and went straight to 'the shortcut'. i worked from 2 moulds, of 6 eggs.

I bought 6 jumbo eggs (the 70g ones. nearly as large as a duck egg - which i now wish i had of used). i hard-boiled them and then cast them in 2 moulds. on the table to the right you can see an open mould and a closed one. obviously you close the mould and tip slip into it. you let the slip sit for 10 mins (or so) then tip the whole lot upside down and let it drain into the bucket.

you then wait an hour to remove it.
 
  failure to wait at least an hour results in many eggs that haven't had enough water removed from them. the picture to the left shows the very first batches. i was impatient and only waited 30 minutes. after a 6 hour day in the studio this is all i had to show. my week looked like a potential disaster...
 Luckily i settled down and got into a rhythm. the next day saw me in full swing. this was another 6 hrs worth of work. the whitest eggs were cast in the morning whilst the darkest ones were only just removed from the moulds.

the bits sticking off them are usually cut off much earlier, but i had a grand idea to fire them all standing on the waste part. this was (not unsurprisingly) another disaster, and i quickly removed all the waste parts and fired everything as an egg
 
  similar to above, but showing the previous days (now) bisque fired eggs (closest to us) these are the ones that got all the testing done on them
 after bisque firing and a bit of sanding and tydying up, they go loaded into the kiln. i had cut fire bricks into this 'I' shape, then hung the eggs from old element wire. again i lost a batch testing this theory, but as i wanted to use the glaze to best effect, this was the best way i could think of.

It seemed to work well and gave me great results - in the end.
 
  the final batch to be loaded. these guys are fired, but i wanted them in again for another firing (hopefully to bring the shine out and form some bigger crystals)
 A few of the totally finished decorations hanging on a tree. they are about the size of a normal 55g egg and look ( i recon) pretty grand.

 
  did i mention my crystalline glaze? yes? ok, well this is manganese carbonate. it was meant to be manganese dioxide, but i mixed them up in my normal hurried way, but i think it makes great crystals.

super shiny and reflective, with a nice distinct halo around the crystals.
 this guy is a little unknown. here my quality control gets a tad dubious...  my educated guess is only titanium, but erm, well, i really am unsure. still a red halo is entirely hot! 
   manganese and copper in this one.  a great combination and easy to do again. overall i think they've come out well.

the crystals are on the smaller side, but i feel they are delicate and proportional to the the shape and size of the piece.
 finally these two again. the top one is pure copper and is my favourite. the bottom is cobalt, anyone attempting crystal - use cobalt, it works the easiest and best *grin*

 
Comments 
3rd-Dec-2006 09:43 am (UTC)
Those are great! WANT!!!
3rd-Dec-2006 09:43 am (UTC)
Hey, i'll be in Melbourne tomorrow til thursday, where is this pottery sale happening?
3rd-Dec-2006 11:02 am (UTC)
holmesglen tafe, chadston. tuesday - thursday, 10 - 4. building 2, out the back, ceramics laboratory.

3rd-Dec-2006 07:39 pm (UTC)
call me. 0429 178 560.
3rd-Dec-2006 08:37 pm (UTC)
Shall do. Would be cool if I could figure my way out there!
3rd-Dec-2006 10:01 am (UTC)
yes, i'd like to know of this pottery sale as well...
in melbourne huh? what a coincidence! that's where i live!
3rd-Dec-2006 11:09 am (UTC)
holmesglen tafe, chadston. tuesday - thursday, 10 - 4. building 2, out the back, ceramics laboratory.
3rd-Dec-2006 01:25 pm (UTC)
I won't be able to get to the sale unless I have a remarkable turnaround between now and then....but I'd love to buy some eggs!
3rd-Dec-2006 07:39 pm (UTC)
you're in the 1st round if there's any left (which i recon there will be ;)
3rd-Dec-2006 02:43 pm (UTC)
thanks so much for sharing! they came out awesome!
3rd-Dec-2006 05:52 pm (UTC)
Very nice! I really like the red halo effect too. Thanks for sharing the entire process... I've yet to experiment with slip casting.
3rd-Dec-2006 06:51 pm (UTC)
just curious, but are they heavier at the bottom than the top? I was wondering if you rotated the egg 360x360 degrees, if that would make a difference in the thickness of the shell throughout? This might even cut down on your draining time, as well, as you're spreading the slip over a larger surface area?

They turned out beautiful, congrats :-)
3rd-Dec-2006 07:37 pm (UTC)
the wall thicknes is 2-3mm and pretty even. when you tip the slip out it runs out and leaves an even coat on the inside of the mould. no need to do any fiddly rotations ;)

4th-Dec-2006 10:30 am (UTC)
here's a pic of one i broke today (yeah to have a look), as you can see the wall thickness is very even. this is caused inside the mould when the plaster sucks water from the clay slip which builds up on the inside walls. when you tip the mould upside down to drain (around 10 - 15 mins) it all just runs out and leaves the buildup.

the ant is to scale ;)

3rd-Dec-2006 11:59 pm (UTC)
Wow those are really great. I would love to buy one too - although postage to the US is going to be obnoxious.

Hope all is going well - been missing your posts. They usually get me out of my work funk a little.
4th-Dec-2006 05:47 am (UTC)
thanks man.

been pretty hectic trying to work ou next years move. there's been very little art coming out.

oh well. let's hope summer is highly productive for me ;)
4th-Dec-2006 06:55 am (UTC)
They are so cool...

Would love to get my paws on some...
13th-Dec-2006 03:01 am (UTC) - You ROCK !!
Love the whole process, showing the molds, the failures, and wonderful successes. I guess we are all waiting for the 16th of January now, to find out what is in store for you next year :-) Time we had a beer !!
13th-Dec-2006 06:17 am (UTC) - Re: You ROCK !!
*blush* all i ever do is think "what would bill do" and then try to obtain your fastidious standards of finishing - well i do think about them :)

anytime is beertime!
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