Technical exploration within my Subject project and Technical Research project;
exploring slips, layering, and simple EW melt test and glazes.
Looking at my object from the Ken Stradling Collection, I wanted to try and recreate the plywood that created the curves and form of the Penguin Donkey in clay.
Using slips seemed like the easiest option to start with, applying it onto a plaster bat with a brush, layer upon layer of blue and white as well as black and white, drying them slightly with a heat gun to prevent the colours mixing.
The problem arise when taking the ply-clay slabs from the bat. I tried to use thin metal kidney, but the slip continued to tear and distort even when drier.
I assume the difficulty of removing slabs from plaster are due to the thinnes of the pieces. Anyway, I wanted the overall thickness, as well as the thickness of individual layers to be much thicker, closer to the thickness of real plywood.
I mixed a bigger quantities of slip to experiment with, with different colours to try various colour combinations.
I chose a specific colour palette based on the most widespread Penguin Books colour – Orange, and its split complementary colours to work nicely together, layered upon each other.
In Penguin Books’ categorising, Orange is representing fiction, whereas Blue is for bibliographies and Purple for essays.
Further colours close to the 3 split complementary that I will consider to use is Yellow (miscellaneous), Cerise (travel and adventure) and Pink (drama).
I made multiple thin guides in the wood workshop to guide me at making the individual layers uniformed.
The scraping problem didn’t reoccur again, and the thickness and uniformity was ideal.
However, I did use quite a lot of slip; but more importantly, I wasn’t able to bend the slabs easily at all.
I was only able to create a small curved pieces, with quite a lot of cracks.
I think for next trial I’ll have to investigate adding a paper pulp to the slip to make it more flexible when forming, as well as create a plaster moulds to bend the slabs over into desirable form.
I also tried to paint the slip over a pieces of paper to help remove the slip slabs from plaster and make the forming easier. I attempted to recreate and enlarge some of previous tests, but it didn’t work that well, having difficulty to join the sides and hold the shape.
A series of 10 melt test of simple combination at EW temperature (1050-1070C).
I started with China Clay and Flint with additions of Borax, High Alkali or Calcium Frit, or Potash Feldspar, Wollastonite or Strontium Carbonate, with additions of orange stain or Rutile for colour.
I played with their values on http://www.glazesimulator.com/ to predict how they could behave.
Few of them didn’t fuse, but most of them turned into a glaze with different matt, porridge like or shiny transparent effects.