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I've finally gotten to the point where I like the look of some characters I've created (round little fun animals) and I'd like to try making a mold of them for slip casting. I'm a little lost as to how to go about it. Do I use a different type of clay that doesn't harden to sculpt and then create the mold with plaster? or use regular clay and let it dry (or even fire it??) then create the mold. I'd prefer to avoid firing the piece so that I don't have to worry about keeping it hollow and can just concentrate on the design. any advice would be appreciated! or links to tutorials. I've been searching but haven't found the right one. The attached picture is an early design but gives you an idea, I assume i'll have to modify for molding to avoid undercuts.
I'm a figure sculptor who has worked in the past in direct-terracotta (http://haneebirch.org/artwork). I have a new body of work I am in the process of putting together, and for practical/economic reasons I am going down the road of mold-making and casting instead of direct work. Unfortunately, this usually means moving from terracotta to plaster (or worse, plastics and the like). I don't mind plaster but it's hard to touch up and doesn't have much value to most people -- ends up needing a patina, etc. So... What I'd like to do is find out how to cast terracotta figures as was commonly done in the 17th and 18th century. All my catalogues of figure work from that time period always refer to cast-terracotta being fairly common. But, nowhere in modern method books have I ever run across anyone who seems to see such an undertaking as even conceivable. Take this figure by Clodion for example, in the Met's collection: http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/200559 So, I do have some experience with mold making, but I've never been the greatest mold making. I seem to be competent at waste molding (except I've never gotten a great release agent recipe that really works consistently, seems like sometimes I get lucky and have perfect release, other times something in my application process must fail), and am capable though not exactly confident with my brushed on silicone molds. In my limited mold knowledge I am guessing this peice by Clodion was press-molded, in a multi-part piece mold. Still, it's hard to comprehend how exactly that would have been done, with the bird wings and many undercuts. For myself, my figures are fairly unadorned but the poses are still complex. I can imagine that I could ignore many of the undercuts, cast a rough form, and then I could easily clean it up, add depth, put the undercuts back in. But still the piece mold for a basic figure of non-trivial pose (say, http://haneebirch.org/artwork/chair-no-1 seems beyond my comprehension). Even chopping the figure into separate parts and re-attaching doesn't simplify it all that much, and I'm unclear on how exactly that would be done anyway. So is there anyone who would know of any book or person that could describe all the technique needed to press-mold or slip mold that Clodion figure or the figure I referenced of my own? Is there some alternative technique that I am not aware of that makes this all a simpler proposition than I thought? I have tried press-molding in a silicon mold, and, to some degree, it worked, but how to cleanly joint the pieces and how to control for moderately even drying seemed unclear (though perhaps with enough experimentation). Anyhow, before trying to blaze my own path with modern materials, I'd really ideally like to find a source who can make entirely clear how exactly this was commonly done in the 18th century. Thanks in advance for any information.
Hello Everyone, I'd like to start by introducing myself. My name is Ed and I'm new to the ceramics business. Literally all I know is what I've googled so far. What I'm trying to do is find the best method to mass produce stoneware ceramics. I wanted to get everyones opinion here on it. I would like to be able to create up to 10,000 small yet complex pieces a month or more from a few different designs. From what I have read there is the slip-casting method of creating a mold and then using slip to pour into the mold and wait for it to dry and then glaze and fire the piece. The problem I see with this method is I don't think I could reach the quantity of pieces I would like with slip-casting all by myself working full-time or with the help of 1 or 2 people. Another method that I've read about is ceramic injection molding. With this method it seems like I can meet the production goal of 10,000 pieces or more. I was wondering if anyone has made stoneware with ceramic injection molding? If anyone has experience with CIM could you shed some light on the costs involved in the process. Also if there is another way that would be better than anything I mentioned please let me know. Thanks Ed