Jump to content


Photo

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

clay drying shrinkage coils

  • Please log in to reply
14 replies to this topic

#1 ashleigh_arts

ashleigh_arts

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 23 posts
  • LocationArkansas

Posted 24 April 2014 - 11:04 AM

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?!?!

Attached Files



#2 Tyler Miller

Tyler Miller

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 326 posts
  • LocationOntario, Canada

Posted 24 April 2014 - 11:13 AM

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.



#3 neilestrick

neilestrick

    Neil Estrick

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 2,752 posts
  • LocationGrayslake, IL

Posted 24 April 2014 - 11:18 AM

If you're going to cone 5 or above, the tentacles may flatten out in the firing. Since you can't flip it over, you'll just have to dry them very slowly by leaving them under plastic for days and days.


Neil Estrick
Kiln Repair Tech
L&L Distributor
Owner, Neil Estrick Gallery, LLC
www.neilestrickgallery.com

neil@neilestrickgallery.com

#4 Chris Campbell

Chris Campbell

    clay stained since 1988

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 2,225 posts
  • LocationRaleigh, NC

Posted 24 April 2014 - 11:28 AM

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


Chris Campbell
Contemporary Fine Colored Porcelain
http://www.ccpottery.com/

https://www.facebook...88317932?ref=hl

TRY ...   FAIL ...  LEARN ...  REPEAT


#5 Min

Min

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 544 posts
  • LocationCanada

Posted 24 April 2014 - 11:34 AM

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.



#6 Pres

Pres

    Retired Art Teacher

  • Moderators
  • 2,071 posts
  • LocationCentral, PA

Posted 24 April 2014 - 11:46 AM

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


Simply retired teacher, not dead, living the dream. on and on and. . . . on. . . .                                                                                 http://picworkspottery.blogspot.com/


#7 JBaymore

JBaymore

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 2,993 posts
  • LocationWilton, NH USA

Posted 24 April 2014 - 11:56 AM

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.


John Baymore
Immediate Past President; Potters Council
Professor of Ceramics; New Hampshire Insitute of Art

http://www.JohnBaymore.com

#8 GEP

GEP

    Moderator / full time potter ^6 stoneware

  • Moderators
  • 850 posts
  • LocationSilver Spring, MD

Posted 24 April 2014 - 01:18 PM

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.
Mea Rhee
Good Elephant Pottery
http://www.goodelephant.com

#9 Babs

Babs

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,080 posts

Posted 24 April 2014 - 02:06 PM

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.



#10 Darcy Kane

Darcy Kane

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 125 posts
  • Locationnorthern New Hampshire

Posted 24 April 2014 - 03:24 PM

You might also consider misting the tee shirt with water and placing it on top of the legs and under the plastic.



#11 Benzine

Benzine

    Socratic Potter

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,655 posts
  • LocationThe Hawkeye State

Posted 24 April 2014 - 10:05 PM

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.


"Anything worth believing, is worth questioning"

#12 Babs

Babs

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,080 posts

Posted 24 April 2014 - 10:10 PM

 

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:



#13 PSC

PSC

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 138 posts
  • LocationFlorida

Posted 25 April 2014 - 10:31 AM

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.

#14 ashleigh_arts

ashleigh_arts

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 23 posts
  • LocationArkansas

Posted 28 April 2014 - 12:53 PM

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. :(



#15 grayfree

grayfree

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 55 posts

Posted 26 May 2014 - 06:47 AM

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! 







0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users