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Everything posted by Isculpt

  1. Thanks Mea for the fabric source, and thanks Chris for the reminder about flameproof requirements!
  2. That was my thought as well... thanks for the suggestions...
  3. I have been experimenting with making small tree branches from clay and paperclay. I use 1/8" to 1/4" branches from a contorta tree (also called "Old Man Walking Stick" because of its twisted, curled and multi-angled branch formation. I push wads of clay onto the limbs, covering them completely until the finished clay limb looks much like the original limb. Then I dry the clay limbs and fire them in an electric kiln. The branches burn out, leaving a narrow bore inside the ceramic branches. Unfortunately, while the branches look great, they're very fragile. I'm wondering if there isn't something that I can brush onto the ceramic branches after firing that will harden and make them less breakable. I remember reading about a product that was being used to hold concrete blocks together without mortar, simply by brushing it onto the surface of the blocks. Something like that is what I have in mind. Any suggestions???
  4. I've just returned to craft shows after a ten year hiatus. My first show will be in November, and I'm getting concerned about my old display. It really doesn't fit the new work. I've spent some time online looking for sources for backdrops and pedestals, etc., but nearly everything I've found is for the trade show business -- flashy photo backdrops, etc. Can someone recommend a site that sells portable walls and pedestals for the art/craft show business? Thanks, Jayne
  5. I've just ordered bags of paperclay from Laguna and found that the clay was quite moldy when I opened them. Previously purchased paperclay molded after the bag had been opened for a week or so, but the folks at Laguna said that the clay can start molding as soon as it is made. Apparently this clay did! Is there anything I can do to safely kill the mold? Can I add vinegar to the clay for that purpose without negatively affecting the clay? I'm allergic to molds, and the thought of putting my hands in that green stuff is pretty unappealing.
  6. I've been using low fire paperclay, firing it to 05 and 06, and I'm having trouble with areas of underglaze popping off after the firing. Any ideas or suggestions?
  7. Malena, I visited your website and your work is utterly charming. I'm intrigued by the almost black stain (?) that gives dimension to your underglazed (??) finishes. I'm a newbie to underglazes and glazes, and I'm trying to find something that will give me that slightly aged appearance. Would you be willing to share your technique for finishing? Thanks, Jayne
  8. A local Native American tribe has been doing a variant of this for, according to archeologists & historians, 2500 years. Prior to the advent of electric stoves, pots were heated in fireplaces or open fires. Nowdays the pots are pre-heated in an electric stove, starting pots at the stove's lowest setting and then slowly (over a period of 4 or 5 hours) raising the temperature to 500 degrees. When pots have been held at that temperature for at least an hour, they are carried to an outdoor fire built on the ground (not in a pit) that has burned down to coals. The larger coals are raked to the outer edges of the fire circle and the pots are placed in the smaller coals and then covered with branches or slender pieces of wood that almost immediately catch fire atop the pots. After this fire has burned down somewhat, any unburnt branches are carefully removed so that pots can be covered with a material that will produce smoke, such as pine bark. The pots are removed from this last firing while the pine bark is still smoking (in order to preserve some unsmoked areas on the pots). In such a firing, breakage and cracking can claim all the pots -- or none of them. I've seen ten coil-built pots fired this way with no breakage or cracking in any of them, but I've also seen an 80% loss in this type of firing. In my somewhat limited experience the typical loss is around 25%, with a long drying period prior to firing being a major factor in loss prevention. I have done roughly the same thing with sawdust by preheating the clay pieces in a stove, and then placing them on a layer of bricks covered by sawdust in a metal trash can which has been drilled with a 1/4" drill bit every 12 inches or so. I add sawdust as I layer the (in my case) clay sculptures, topping it all off with a 6" layer of sawdust. I add crumpled newspapers to the top, light the papers, cover 90% of the opening with the trash can lid, and leave it until the smoking has ceased and the sculptures are cooled. With this technique I have experienced cracking in 25% of the sculptures, with occasional breakage due to poor stacking in the trash can. To address the breakage problem, I'm planning to experiment with circles of screen wire propped on perimeter bricks between the pottery layers to prevent one layer falling onto another as the sawdust burns away. Hope this helps....
  9. Thanks for the link to Graham Hay's site. I've only just begun to study it and I look forward to reading and learning more....
  10. Thanks for the information. Maybe I can make a thin wash of brown AMOCO underglaze to use on top of AMACO underglaze colors. And I had no idea that two weeks might be inadequate drying time -- thanks for that admonition. I frequently read that one should "be sure it's dry", but I've touched clay work that had been sitting for six weeks in an air-conditioned room, and it still felt cool to me, so I'm having a little trouble trusting my judgment with that method. I have read that paperclay is very forgiving in terms of drying; that some people even dry their paperclay work in the kiln. Have you done that? I'm asking because I'm wondering if I could shorten that two+ weeks drying time on paperclay sculptures. I'm sweating a particular deadline because as a former woodcarver, I'm just not used to scheduling "wait time" after completing the carving/sculpting of my work before I can finish and deliver it.
  11. Thanks, Chris, for pointing out what should have been obvious to me -- that paperclay is just clay when the paper is burned out. As for the sculptures -- they are generally in the 16x16" size, the same as the interior of my kiln (lol). And I try to keep the walls the same thickness, but I'm sure they vary from 1/4" to 1/2". I usually dry them for two weeks, some more and some slightly less, depending on size, etc. I use earthenware, whether I'm making paperclay or using it "as is", and I don't fire beyond 05. And while I have you -- boy are you going to get tired of seeing my name and reading my questions -- may I ask a totally unrelated question? What do I have to do to get that nice brown antique look to my underglazed pieces? I tried iron oxide, and ended up with a pinkish hue, rather than that old & earthy, brown-in-the-crevices look I was going for. Was the oxide the right thing to use, but the 05 the wrong temperature? Or is there something better that will work in low firing? Thanks!
  12. I have been sculpting clay for only a year, and I'm curious about bisquing in general and bisquing paperclay in particular. A functional potter friend told me to bisque my regular clay sculptures as follows: lid open, two lower elements on low for 8 hours (overnight), lid open 6", two lower elements on low for 2 hours, lid open 1", two lower elements on low for an hour, then close lid and turn all three elements to low for 4 hours, then all elements on medium for 4 hours, and then high until cone 05/06 is reached. Is this an appropriate bisquing schedule for clay sculpture? So far, it has worked well, but if I can cut the time -- safely! -- I'd like to do so. More importantly, I am beginning to work in paperclay, and I'd like to know if the bisquing schedule for well-dried paper clay sculpture would be the same.
  13. Hi lsculpt, I have a lady here who uses paper clay (Laguna Clay Company paper clay and Gault 10 Pclay from Aardvark) exclusively for her portraiture works because she can create fine details with it. The paper clay should not be lumpy at all. I do not wedge fresh paper clay from the bag. If my paper clay has been sitting around for a while, sometimes I do wedge it, just to make it homogeneous. In general, I wedge my fresh paper clay (on a plaster bat) to quickly get rid of the excess water so it's not so soft. I've also used the Bmix + sand + paper from Laguna Clay company without any problems. Hope this helps. Anthony Thanks to you and Christine for your comments. Isculpt
  14. Anthony, I'm new to clay in general and to paper clay in particular. Your work is wonderfully free and organic. One problem I'm having with paper clay (I'm on the east coast, so it's Laguna) is that the clay is sometimes too lumpy for small, detailed work. Is it just me, or is paper clay meant for creating work that is more loose and free than this former woodcarver is capable of?
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