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Seb

Clay Sponge / Slip Submerged Sponge

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Hi everyone,

I am experimenting with sponges, submerged in slurry/ slip. I have seen a view examples that I am trying to replicate. I have done a view test using natural sponges. I do not want to use any artificial sponge due to unhealthy fumes that might occur wile firing. However, the results so far did not really satisfy me. The remaining structure of the sponge looked interesting but it was very brittle and fell apart easily. I fired it at cone 05. I am wondering if anyone has some experience on that subject and a tip what I could do differently? And do you have any recommendation for natural spongy materials that I could use, alternatively to a sponge?

Thank you so much for any advice , best wishes,

 

Seb

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Hi LeeU,

Thank you for your quick reply! The technique I am aiming for is something like what Marcel Wanders does with his Spongevase. Here is a link to his work. LINK

I unfortunately can only do low firing. Hope the link helps. Thank you!

Seb

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Thank you Neil! I had tried different thicknesses before and found that the slip was either too thin -after firing the structure would easily collapse- or it was too thick and you would not recognize the foam texture anymore. Building up multiple layers, would you let the layers dry in between?

 

Thank you again !!!

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Hi Douglas, thank you so much for the tip. So you would dip the piece in slip, fire it and dip it again into more slip? For some reason I was lead to believe that you cannot apply slip to a bisqued piece. However, I will gladly try this method and see what come out of it! I am happy to share the results after :)

Seb

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On a side note, would it also work to dip the piece in slip, let that layer dry and then dip it again in slip without firing the piece in between? Or would that cause the layers to not properly connect?

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For a project like this I'm thinking you need a slip/engobe that has a much higher than normal tensile strength or to cast it thicker - otherwise it's super fragile like you're experiencing, like look at it wrong and it's going to break, lol.

The problem with trying to "layer" your material and gain thickness is that you now lose all the detail you were trying to capture -- such as the texture of fabric, yarn, sponge in this case, etc.  The key is to have a very fine particle size and allow it lots of time to wick up into the material you're trying to impregnate with slip.

Ceramics tensile strength is simply very very low compared to the incredible compression strength it has and is effected by many factors.  To really refine this project I'd imagine you'll have lots of testing to do :D  Some basic examples I can think of that effect this:  particle density/porosity/particle size, vitrification level/sintering, crystalline structure/matrix/mullite development

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Hi Perkolator,

I really appreciate all your comments! I just did another test using thicker slip and the result turned out much better. If the slip is too thick, just like you pointed out, details will get lost. But the density/ viscosity of slip is the initial key to the success of a project like this it seems at this point. I also assume that the additional layer of glaze will give additional strength to the piece. I haven't tested that yet but will let you know how it turned out after.  Best wishes,

Seb

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What about trying paper clay slip?   Adding paper pulp to your  slip.   Or else a step further  and make casting slip out of  your  paper clay.    Or use a commercial casting slip  and add paper pulp... Paper clay is amazing stuff....

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Hi CNC Carolyn,

paper clay slip definitely sounds like a great way to experiment with. I haven't tried it out yet and I am not sure this would be a good thing to add when submerging the sponge in the slip since it would be too thick for the sponge, but on different applications, I could image it.  Thank you! :)

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After trying out several ways, I found that first you need to make sure the slip is not too thin! Otherwise, the sponge does not pick up a necessary amount of slip. After firing the new formed sponge-clay structure will be brittle and one should be extra careful when handling the piece. Otherwise, the fine elements of the structure can be easily broken off.  However, after glazing the piece, the structure became resistant and sturdy enough to be handled with much less caution. I would suggest trying this yourself as it creates very interesting and fun results!

Edited by Seb

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Hi LeeU,

I used a natural sponge.  Even though the structure of an artificial sponge is more regular, often larger in size and has more density - which I think is actually beneficial for absorbing the slip - my concern was the fumes. I don't have the best ventilation situation and was concerned about the impact of the burning material. On the other hand, the natural sponge has its natural beauty which cannot be replaced. Here is a picture of the result. I used white slip and white glaze as my goal was to figure out the process. I am sure once you move more towards colored slips, interesting glazes, etc. you can cause awesome aesthetic results.

DSC00817.jpeg.7dabefb075672edc8b7a88c70fd76a51.jpeg

DSC00822.jpeg.a9b79e387783f80af0406c32f9e67184.jpeg

 

DSC00820.jpeg.7c5c56e2a092897d03586bc4760203b4.jpeg

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Those look terrific Seb!  I've experimented with some cotton yarn, dipped in slip, and helped a student create a series with the process.  They were VERY porous and fragile, afrer the bisque, but were much better after glazing.  I would imagine that the porousity led to the glaze penetrating deeply into the structure.

I have also fired a slip soaked paper towel, because... Well, just to see what happened.  It survived fairly well, and I glazed it, and gave it to a student, who was intrigued by the process.

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On 5/12/2018 at 5:40 AM, Rae Reich said:

Cool! What cone did you glaze to?

It was bisque fired to Cone06 and glazed to Cone05

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