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ashleigh_arts

Octopus...will Be The Death Of Me...

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I've been trying for months now to make a successful octopus that the tentacles won't break on! I'm starting to think I can't! I'm make the tentacles with clay coils and add details. However, when it starts to dry, the tentacles start to raise up. They don't break...but me trying to readjust them or press them back down breaks them. I feel like an octopus is going to look DUMB with his legs in the air!! So here's what I'm doing right now: I've got his body uncovered (so it will dry out...the tentacles are thinner and always dry out fast) and his legs have been misted with water and have a plastic bag draped across them. For weight to counter the rising tentacles, I've laid a cotton t-shirt on top of that. I keep checking and misting...but this seems like a never ending cycle. How do I keep these legs from dring and raising up?!?!

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post-62628-0-82702700-1398355475_thumb.jpg

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If they want to warp upwards, why not try to get them to warp into place by starting out with them below where you want them, and letting them curl up as they dry?  

 

No idea what kind of stresses this would put on the tentacles when you fire it, but it might be a way to get them to where they want to be.

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My advice is to SLOW DOWN the entire drying process.

When you finish the octopus set in on paper, cover it loosely with a sheet of newspaper, then several sheets of dry cleaner plastic and let it sit for a day or two so the moisture content evens out across the whole figure.

Then start removing one sheet at a time ... leaving at least a day in between ...  and watching carefully for cracks ... if there is a crack you are going too fast.

 

Bear in mind that they will tend to break off at all stages of the process and customers will be shy of buying something so iffy for survival.

I would try setting it on a clay surface that is textured to look like sand or coral which would make for a sturdier sculpture. Also, that is usually where you find these critters ... on coral heads, crevices and sand. The ones you see in open water are usually heading for something.

Good luck! :D

Tyler Miller likes this

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Wax his legs, it will slow down the drying time. Like everyone else has already said, really slow down the drying time.

 

I would also try adding a bit more weight to the legs. For slab built items that rise in the center of the base it's common to weight them down with little weight bags. A few squares of cotton with sand inside then tied off at the top to make a small bundle. Not too heavy as the piece still has to move while shrinking.

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For greater lateral strength, you may consider pulling the legs and then attaching them. Pulling lines clay grain in the direction of the pull, whereas coils are usually lined up around the circumference of the coil. At the same time, waxing will slow them down, or covering with a piece of saran type wrap. You may also consider laying a layer of corn meal on the bat to allow shrinkage to not stick, but to slide easily against the bat. This sometimes causes the clay to warp upward.

 

Best,

Preston

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I'd try working on a piece of sheetrock (plaster center material). It'll help pull moisture out of the less exposed botom sides of the legs.

 

If they are moving upward... it is becasue the top surfaces are drying (and shrinking) more than the under surfaces (less shrinkage).

 

As Neil mentions...... you might get a fix out of in the kiln pyroplasticity... so you can try that also.

 

best,

 

...............john.

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Is the head solid or hollow? If the head is sufficiently hollowed out, it doesn't seem like the legs would be drying out too much faster than the head. But still, I agree with everyone above to slow down the drying as much as possible.

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Paper clay is more forgiving for this type of construction but the covering and waxing and all of the above  is the way to go. P clay can be rejoined more forgivingly if any accidents happen.

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You may also consider laying a layer of corn meal on the bat to allow shrinkage to not stick, but to slide easily against the bat. 

 

Best,

Preston

This also makes for a killer pizza crust.

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You may also consider laying a layer of corn meal on the bat to allow shrinkage to not stick, but to slide easily against the bat. 

 

Best,

Preston

This also makes for a killer pizza crust.

 

Nearly lunchtime??

Pres been eating in the clayroom again????

Yes the corn meal would soak up the moisture :mellow:

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I found weighting the upbendable parts before they start bending upwards is the key. A sock filled with grog or sand placed on them at soft leatherhard might do the trick. If they do start bending up resist the urge to force them down. And like someone else said they might lay down when fired.

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I found weighting the upbendable parts before they start bending upwards is the key. A sock filled with grog or sand placed on them at soft leatherhard might do the trick. If they do start bending up resist the urge to force them down. And like someone else said they might lay down when fired.

 

Thank you so much for this!! I will remember this. I misted the T-Shirt and so far so good. One leg looks like it wants to rise, but if it does, I'll be ok with it. It'll probably end up being trash anyway...I'm never happy with anything that comes out lately. :(

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Hi I agree with the sand sock.  I used that idea recently on a flat peice and it worked great....no lift.  So simple I don't know why I didn't think of it before. Good luck.....Your octopus is awesome.  I made one recently that the legs curled all over the place.  It was cute and I sold it but I will not make another.  Too time consuming! 

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