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#1 Lee.

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 06:54 AM

Hello All,

I am very new to clay sculpting, Just finished my first sculpture, just a few little things left to clean up, then I am hoping to put it in the kiln for firing, but because I am so new to this, (I am a bit stuck as where to start), my main concern being that of the Armature, I used rolled news paper, the sculptor/model is made from terracotta clay that I purchased from a UK company by the name of Pot-clay, my sculpture is of a ''Bulldog'', in my own style, about 12x roughly 9 inches or so in size, Can I fire it with the paper left inside? or do I need to remove it, I would rather leave the paper inside if possible, I don't really want to chop it apart.


Would it be Better for me to post a picture up

Any advice would be greatly Appreciated!

Many thanks
lee

#2 bciskepottery

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 07:14 AM

The paper will burn out during your firing; you can leave it in . . . however, it will smoke and smell during firing and leave ash in the kiln. The paper will absorb moisture from the clay body, so, while your clay may be bone dry, the paper inside may not be fully dry. Make sure you give it a lot of time to dry thoroughly before firing . . . error on the side of caution. Trapped moisture could cause the steam to expand too fast and break the sculpture. And, give it a good pre-heat.

#3 Lee.

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 07:53 AM

Many thanks for the Reply bciskepottery

Do I just leave it to thoroughly dry out Naturally, at the moment it's in the shed, it's quite coldish and damp hear at the moment, would it be a good idea to bring it into the house, will it start to crack up as it's drying out ?

Attached File  clay bulldog.JPG   2.34MB   93 downloadsAttached File  bulldog 3.JPG   2.97MB   94 downloadsAttached File  clay bulldog2.JPG   2.7MB   61 downloads

#4 OffCenter

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 08:00 AM

Nice bulldog. It would go over well here in Georgia. The Univ. of Georgia mascot is a bulldog and in Athens, Georgia there's a bulldog sculpture on every street corner.

Jim
E pur si muove.

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#5 Lee.

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 08:15 AM

Thanks for that Jim
Funny really that I did a Bulldog, our family dog is a 6 months old Wire Fox TerrierPosted Image

Those pictures seem to open up very large, I am rubbish with computers, can anyone make them smaller.

Regards
lee

#6 bciskepottery

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 08:24 AM

If you bring it in the house, you'll want to dry it slowly . . . the legs are thinner and will dry out first, which could cause stresss and cracks in the main body of the dog. You could wrap the legs in plastic, allowing the body to start drying and then allow the legs to catch up. Regardless, if brought inside, I'd alternate periods of covered/uncovered so you can control the drying, along with plastic wrap on the legs. Find a place inside that is relatively constant in temperature, not in sunlight. Time is your friend, so enjoy it's company and don't rush it.

You might want to start thinking about how you plan to fire the piece, as the clay will shrink and expand during firing, along with heat retention in the kiln shelf during cooling . . . and that could put stress on the legs and cause cracking. Firing on clay slats, or a bed of grog or silica sand, would help mitigate that problem.

Beautiful sculpture . . . and you say it's your first?!!!



#7 Lee.

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 08:49 AM

Thank you bciskepottry,
I will take up what you have advised

Beautiful sculpture . . . and you say it's your first?!!!


Yes honestly!, I have never done anything like this before, I will say I loved every minute doing this sculpture, cant wait to start the next one, that is when I come up with a idea.

Kind regards
lee

#8 minspargal

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 09:39 AM

I think your dog is cool. I also make dogs now and then and let them dry a long time.

#9 neilestrick

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 09:44 AM

Excellent work! Hopefully your newspaper was rolled very loosely, so that it can compress as the clay dries and shrinks. Otherwise you'll get cracking. Depending on how your kiln is vented, the vent may or may not be able to handle the amount of smoke that comes out when the paper burns. Make sure you won't be setting off ny smoke alarms. I've seen it happen at schools before.....
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#10 Lee.

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 01:50 PM

Thanks Neil,

I had look back at some pictures I had taken when I started the sculpture, To be truthful I don't recon I used that much Newspaper for the Armature, for the main body, I would say I rolled it at about 1'' in diameter, I will do as I have been advised to let it fully dry out properly, then Firer it and keep my fingers crossed everything works out OK

Many Thanks
lee



#11 neilestrick

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 03:37 PM

Thanks Neil,

I had look back at some pictures I had taken when I started the sculpture, To be truthful I don't recon I used that much Newspaper for the Armature, for the main body, I would say I rolled it at about 1'' in diameter, I will do as I have been advised to let it fully dry out properly, then Firer it and keep my fingers crossed everything works out OK

Many Thanks
lee



The issue is not the diameter of the armature, but rather how thick it is. Too thick and it becomes rigid and can't compress as the clay shrinks. Best to use loosely crumpled newspaper, held together with tape.
Neil Estrick
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#12 Mark C.

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 04:57 PM

Great Dog
I suggest some type of friction reducing medium under the two foot pads so they slide while shrinking in the firing so the dog does not crack.
It could be a large slab of clay that shrinks along with the dog or silica sand under the two pads or small clay logs or ---- whatever.This has been discussed on this forum in depth.
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#13 Benzine

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 05:54 PM


Thanks Neil,

I had look back at some pictures I had taken when I started the sculpture, To be truthful I don't recon I used that much Newspaper for the Armature, for the main body, I would say I rolled it at about 1'' in diameter, I will do as I have been advised to let it fully dry out properly, then Firer it and keep my fingers crossed everything works out OK

Many Thanks
lee



The issue is not the diameter of the armature, but rather how thick it is. Too thick and it becomes rigid and can't compress as the clay shrinks. Best to use loosely crumpled newspaper, held together with tape.


You know, I have never used tape, to keep my newspaper together. I just place it in the space, and drape the clay over it, so the clay keeps it from "uncrumpling". Then again, I build pretty slow, so the clay supports itself well enough sans armature.

Also, as others have said Lee, very nice sculpture.
"Anything worth believing, is worth questioning"

#14 smastca

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 06:25 PM

A quick question from a relative newby - is there a hole for the air to escape while it fires and dries?
It's a gorgeous sculpture by the way.....

#15 Denice

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 08:02 PM

You can try firing it without digging out the news paper but the thin areas and really thick areas within one piece may cause you some problems. I worked with sculpture for 10 years and found cutting a clean hole and pulling out the armature and getting a tool in there and cleaning out the thick areas and even adding some clay to areas that were to thin produced a more refined piece without warpage or cracks. They even feel better when you pick them up more balanced and lighter. I even enjoyed that task I felt like I had produced the best sculpture I could inside and out. Denice

#16 Iforgot

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 11:08 PM

is the terra cotta pretty groggy? if so then i wouldn't worry much. red clay is very forgiving.



Darrel
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#17 Lee.

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 02:42 AM

Thank you everyone for your Advice.

I do feel a little apprehensive now with how this is going to turn out for my sculpture, I say oh dear, maybe I should of done a bit more research with regards the finer points of working with clay, oh well, I will just have to grin and bare it and just hope too much damage isn't done as it goes through the drying process.

smastca Posted Image
Posted Yesterday, 06:25 PM

A quick question from a relative newby - is there a hole for the air to escape while it fires and dries?
It's a gorgeous sculpture by the way.....

]

Yes, there is a hole underneath the body where I use a dowel, I was thinking about going in there with a sharp tool and try dig out some of the paper.

Regards
lee




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