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2eternity

Using Wire Support To Make Spikes

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I have a porcelain that's not a "true" porcelain because it only needs to fire to cone 6.  I don't have a kiln so I can't practice things.

I want to make a surface with a few 1" spikes sticking straight up or leaning a little and I was wondering the best way to do it.  When I did "poured ceramics" years ago the instructor would use "prop" on the porcelain piece to keep them in shape, but this shop owner doesn't do that because he doesn't fire porcelain (but I think he would if it only went to cone 6)  Can clay and porcelain be mixed in the same firing?

I had an idea about making the spikes.  Rather than rolling them and hoping they wouldn't fall, I was thinking of using a piece of wire and dip it into slip repeatedly (drying between coats) until it got the right size.  This is how they made candles in the "Little House on the Prairie" days (only using cording).  And if I were to use wire, what guage would I need? 14 guage which is fairly substantial and will hold it's shape or 20 guage which is thinner but would make better spikes?  Has anyone had any kind of experience working with wire in "porcelain" or clay?

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I used wire inside ^6 clay to make a snowman's carrot nose.  Nose approximately 10mm long and 1mm at sharp end, 5mm at fat end.  Just wrapped clay around wire until I got the shape I wanted and poked the tail end of the wire into his face.  Main reason for using wire was so nose wouldn't droop. Which worked.

 

I have no idea of gauge of wire.  I'll check tomorrow and let you know.

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The clays we use form making pots and such are called 'clay bodies'. Each is formulated for specific characteristics such as color, firing temperature, and texture. Porcelain is a clay body, just like stoneware or earthenware. They all contain different types of clays as well as binders (feldspar), silica, and grit (grog or sand). What sets porcelain apart from other clay bodies is that it's lower in clay and higher in feldspar and silica. So once it's fired, it's much glassier than stoneware or earthenware bodies. You can build with porcelain just like any other clay body, but it does require good technical skills as it is more likely to warp or crack than other bodies.

 

Cone 6 porcelain is still porcelain, it's just formulated to fire at a lower temperature. But can still be glassy and translucent just like cone 10 porcelain.

 

Wire stilts do not generally work very well at cone 6. The wires tend to soften and bend. So instead we just make sure the bottom of the foot is clean of glaze, and fire the pot sitting right on the shelf.

 

In general it's not a good idea to leave wires inside the clay, since the clay shrinks and the wire doesn't, which causes the clay to crack. I say just make the spikes and attach them to the form by scoring, just like any other attachment.

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yes, you can repeatedly apply/build up a layer of slip on a piece of wire (or even a nail) embedded in your clay.  the artists I know of who do this use something like a syringe or squeeze bottle to apply.  since the wire inside is rigid, and the clay needs to shrink around it, it's hit or miss in regards to the cracking you'll get.

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