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Handbuilding Question

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I have been handbuilding for about 4 years now, and just love it. As I've started making more and more complicated pieces, I'm running into the problem of multiple layers of overlapping clay not sticking together and/or cracking. I use slip made with the same clay, score deeply all parts that will be touching, apply the slip everwhere the pieces will touch, and firmly press things together for several seconds. I was taught to dry these pieces very slowly, so I've wrapped a finished piece in multiple layers of plastic, even putting plastic on the inside of a vase or bowl, and then leaving it for 2+ weeks up to 2 months, and when I take the wrap off, pieces fall away and there are usually some cracks. I've tried fixing them at this stage as they're usually still somewhat wet -- not leather hard -- but that hasn't worked either. Any ideas about what else I can try?

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I have been handbuilding for about 4 years now, and just love it. As I've started making more and more complicated pieces, I'm running into the problem of multiple layers of overlapping clay not sticking together and/or cracking. I use slip made with the same clay, score deeply all parts that will be touching, apply the slip everwhere the pieces will touch, and firmly press things together for several seconds. I was taught to dry these pieces very slowly, so I've wrapped a finished piece in multiple layers of plastic, even putting plastic on the inside of a vase or bowl, and then leaving it for 2+ weeks up to 2 months, and when I take the wrap off, pieces fall away and there are usually some cracks. I've tried fixing them at this stage as they're usually still somewhat wet -- not leather hard -- but that hasn't worked either. Any ideas about what else I can try?

 

 

 

You should try Lana Wilson "Magic water" it did miracles for me in any stage of green ware, even on bone dry. Since I found the recepie, I don't work with out it. You will not have to wait for month for your pots to dry. :-)

Happy creations!

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You might try using some different clays. Something with a bit more sand or grog, perhaps. A clay body can make all the difference. Talk to your supplier if they're knowledgeable and ask which of their clays they'd recommend for what you're doing.

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Have you thought about using paperclay? It's easy to make and you can reattach broken bits and fill cracks even on completely dry pieces

 

 

I have heard of paperclay, but also heard that there's some controversy about how it's made. Do you use toilet paper as the paper ingredient, then 1/2 dry clay and water until there's a paste? Thanks for the suggestion -- I'll definitely try it!

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I have been handbuilding for about 4 years now, and just love it. As I've started making more and more complicated pieces, I'm running into the problem of multiple layers of overlapping clay not sticking together and/or cracking. I use slip made with the same clay, score deeply all parts that will be touching, apply the slip everwhere the pieces will touch, and firmly press things together for several seconds. I was taught to dry these pieces very slowly, so I've wrapped a finished piece in multiple layers of plastic, even putting plastic on the inside of a vase or bowl, and then leaving it for 2+ weeks up to 2 months, and when I take the wrap off, pieces fall away and there are usually some cracks. I've tried fixing them at this stage as they're usually still somewhat wet -- not leather hard -- but that hasn't worked either. Any ideas about what else I can try?

 

 

 

You should try Lana Wilson "Magic water" it did miracles for me in any stage of green ware, even on bone dry. Since I found the recepie, I don't work with out it. You will not have to wait for month for your pots to dry. :-)

Happy creations!

 

 

One of the art studios in town sells magic water, but I wasn't sure what it was. Do you have a recipe for it? Thanks -- I have several things to try now!

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You might try using some different clays. Something with a bit more sand or grog, perhaps. A clay body can make all the difference. Talk to your supplier if they're knowledgeable and ask which of their clays they'd recommend for what you're doing.

 

 

Thanks for this suggestion! I'm using a clay with some grog, but not a lot, as I like to have a smoother finish and not one with bumps. I'll check and see if I can find something with a little more grog.

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I have been handbuilding for about 4 years now, and just love it. As I've started making more and more complicated pieces, I'm running into the problem of multiple layers of overlapping clay not sticking together and/or cracking. I use slip made with the same clay, score deeply all parts that will be touching, apply the slip everwhere the pieces will touch, and firmly press things together for several seconds. I was taught to dry these pieces very slowly, so I've wrapped a finished piece in multiple layers of plastic, even putting plastic on the inside of a vase or bowl, and then leaving it for 2+ weeks up to 2 months, and when I take the wrap off, pieces fall away and there are usually some cracks. I've tried fixing them at this stage as they're usually still somewhat wet -- not leather hard -- but that hasn't worked either. Any ideas about what else I can try?

 

 

 

Hi there,

 

I have heard a lot of good things about this recipe that was in an article in about 2006 for Nils Lou:

===================================================================================================================Gorliia Slip 1 cup of Kaolin1 cup of Ball Clay1 Cup of Dr. Pepper cola1/2 cup of Stale Beer (Corona is preferred)1 Tablespoon of Elmer's White Glue1 Tablespoon of White Vinegar (for pH balance)3 Tablespoons gloss acrylic medium (she had a bottle of Liquitex Acrylic Gloss Medium & Varnish that she had purchased from Aaron Bros.) The latter product (the gloss acrylic medium) makes the mixture thixotropic, so stir well before using, if desired thin with 50/50 white vinegar and water. This slip will stick anything to anything and stores indefinitely in an airtight container.===================================================================================================================

You may want to give it a try.

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I have been handbuilding for about 4 years now, and just love it. As I've started making more and more complicated pieces, I'm running into the problem of multiple layers of overlapping clay not sticking together and/or cracking. I use slip made with the same clay, score deeply all parts that will be touching, apply the slip everwhere the pieces will touch, and firmly press things together for several seconds. I was taught to dry these pieces very slowly, so I've wrapped a finished piece in multiple layers of plastic, even putting plastic on the inside of a vase or bowl, and then leaving it for 2+ weeks up to 2 months, and when I take the wrap off, pieces fall away and there are usually some cracks. I've tried fixing them at this stage as they're usually still somewhat wet -- not leather hard -- but that hasn't worked either. Any ideas about what else I can try?

 

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Hi... Iam new in this community and learning how to post so this may have posted again. The following is a recipe for Gorilla Slip that was in a 2006 article on Nils Lou . I have heard a lot of good things about it, you may want to give it a try. Enjoy, Wispy Willow Designs

 

Gorliia Slip

> 1 cup of Kaolin

> 1 cup of Ball Clay

> 1 Cup of Dr. Pepper cola

> 1/2 cup of Stale Beer (Corona is preferred)

> 1 Tablespoon of Elmer's White Glue

> 1 Tablespoon of White Vinegar (for pH balance)

> 3 Tablespoons gloss acrylic medium (a friend of mine used Liquitex Acrylic Gloss Medium & Varnish that she had purchased from Aaron Bros.)

 

> The latter product (the gloss acrylic medium) makes the mixture thixotropic, so stir well before using, if desired thin with 50/50 white vinegar and water.

 

> This slip will stick anything to anything and stores indefinitely in an airtight container.

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I have been handbuilding for about 4 years now, and just love it. As I've started making more and more complicated pieces, I'm running into the problem of multiple layers of overlapping clay not sticking together and/or cracking. I use slip made with the same clay, score deeply all parts that will be touching, apply the slip everwhere the pieces will touch, and firmly press things together for several seconds. I was taught to dry these pieces very slowly, so I've wrapped a finished piece in multiple layers of plastic, even putting plastic on the inside of a vase or bowl, and then leaving it for 2+ weeks up to 2 months, and when I take the wrap off, pieces fall away and there are usually some cracks. I've tried fixing them at this stage as they're usually still somewhat wet -- not leather hard -- but that hasn't worked either. Any ideas about what else I can try?

 

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I am wondering how big you work? I don't seem to have such a problem at any size, and I never let things dry that long! I'd definitely try another clay body with more grog, especially if you are building large pieces. Sometimes covering the joined area with thin plastic or even wax, while also covering the entire piece more loosely, helps these areas dry more slowly.

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One of the art studios in town sells magic water, but I wasn't sure what it was. Do you have a recipe for it? Thanks -- I have several things to try now!

 

 

The recepie is very simple, it will be much cheapper to make it yourself and one gallon will last!

 

3 tablespoons of sodium

silicate, and 5 grams of soda ash to 1 gallon of water

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I have been handbuilding for about 4 years now, and just love it. As I've started making more and more complicated pieces, I'm running into the problem of multiple layers of overlapping clay not sticking together and/or cracking. I use slip made with the same clay, score deeply all parts that will be touching, apply the slip everwhere the pieces will touch, and firmly press things together for several seconds. I was taught to dry these pieces very slowly, so I've wrapped a finished piece in multiple layers of plastic, even putting plastic on the inside of a vase or bowl, and then leaving it for 2+ weeks up to 2 months, and when I take the wrap off, pieces fall away and there are usually some cracks. I've tried fixing them at this stage as they're usually still somewhat wet -- not leather hard -- but that hasn't worked either. Any ideas about what else I can try?

 

 

My first question is why are you constructing with multiple overlapping layers? If the under layer (s) isn't/aren't critical to the structure or the appearance of the final piece, then the extra thickness... which translates into uneven drying which = uneven shrinkage, is not necessary. I have found that usually a 1/4" - 1/2" overlap for joining slabs is not a problem if the 2 pieces of clay are thoroughly scored and a good slip (with white vinegar as the primary medium... not water (vinegar--- which is a 5% acid solution) will de-flock the clay just enough to get a good bond to set. Drying should be controlled and you seem to have a handle on this aspect of your work. Good luck !

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You should try Lana Wilson "Magic water" it did miracles for me in any stage of green ware, even on bone dry. Since I found the recepie, I don't work with out it. You will not have to wait for month for your pots to dry. :-)

Happy creations!

 

 

One of the art studios in town sells magic water, but I wasn't sure what it was. Do you have a recipe for it? Thanks -- I have several things to try now!

 

 

There's a whole thread on it here:clayart.org

 

Magic Water from Lana Wilson

1 gallon water

9.5 grams sodium silicate

3 grams soda ash

 

 

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Willow,

 

I consider myself to be one of the world's worst when it comes to combining pieces of varying thicknesses and of different clays. In the past, I have encountered similar problems with small formed pieces and pulled pieces when they are not all made at the same time before assemblying. My spray, misting bottle is my best friend in this case. As I work, I constantly monitor thoe small appendages to make sure that they do not dry faster than the base pieces to which they are attached...if allowed to dry faster, those small pieces tend to suck moisture away from slip/joined connections. Even with 'slow' drying, I will often keep misting a piece for several days to assure a better level of consistent moisture on all parts before beginning a lonnnng slow drying period.

 

Otherwise, if/when I STILL have cracks, it is paper clay to the rescue!

 

Good luck,

P:)

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Have you thought about using paperclay? It's easy to make and you can reattach broken bits and fill cracks even on completely dry pieces

 

 

I have heard of paperclay, but also heard that there's some controversy about how it's made. Do you use toilet paper as the paper ingredient, then 1/2 dry clay and water until there's a paste? Thanks for the suggestion -- I'll definitely try it!

 

 

I've made paper clay a couple of ways - one to a Rosette Gault recipe ... her book (ISBN 0-7136-6827-X) is definitely worth a look; and the other, much simpler and less messy, is to use a block of clay and sandwich in two sheets of toilet paper between every half inch or so of clay then thoroughly wedge together. The resulting paperclay can even be thrown - although I haven't tried this myself. Hope this is useful to you

Kind Regards

Christine

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This will join anything - even broken bisque. Fill a blender half full of torn toilet paper - tear it into 1/2 square pieces. Add vinegar to cover. Blend and blend and pulverize. Pour into a jar in which dried, pulverized clay sit. Mix. The texture should be that of lumpy applesauce.

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Don't be afraid to make your own paper clay ... there is no magic or mystery to it ...

check out a simple way of making it on my site ...

 

www.ccpottery.com

 

The great thing about making your own is you can use your favorite clay body and use as much or as little paper as you want.

If you need to carve - use less ... if you need the flexiblity of adding pieces at different times - use more.

You can even repair bisqued or fired work with paper clay slip.

 

To avoid the stink simply dry the paper slip into sheets and wet them as you need some.

 

chris

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Don't be afraid to make your own paper clay ... there is no magic or mystery to it ...

check out a simple way of making it on my site ...

 

www.ccpottery.com

 

The great thing about making your own is you can use your favorite clay body and use as much or as little paper as you want.

If you need to carve - use less ... if you need the flexiblity of adding pieces at different times - use more.

You can even repair bisqued or fired work with paper clay slip.

 

To avoid the stink simply dry the paper slip into sheets and wet them as you need some.

 

chris

 

 

Thank you so much for your paper clay recipe - I am going to try it tomorrow

 

 

 

Your website is great - I am a glass artist as well as a potter - I have literally pounds of leftover glass that I pulverize and use as frit - I am going to experiment (keeping in mind your notes on the texture) will post the results

 

 

 

Again thanks - the reason I love this crafting is constantly learning new techniques from artists like you

 

 

 

FloB

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I have been handbuilding for about 4 years now, and just love it. As I've started making more and more complicated pieces, I'm running into the problem of multiple layers of overlapping clay not sticking together and/or cracking. I use slip made with the same clay, score deeply all parts that will be touching, apply the slip everwhere the pieces will touch, and firmly press things together for several seconds. I was taught to dry these pieces very slowly, so I've wrapped a finished piece in multiple layers of plastic, even putting plastic on the inside of a vase or bowl, and then leaving it for 2+ weeks up to 2 months, and when I take the wrap off, pieces fall away and there are usually some cracks. I've tried fixing them at this stage as they're usually still somewhat wet -- not leather hard -- but that hasn't worked either. Any ideas about what else I can try?

 

 

It is raining under the plastic. Have you ever seen a terrarium? You are creating a little eco-system. That is the atmosphere that is going on under the plastic wrapping. You are holding the water in the plastic wrapped vessel rather than letting it evaporate.

 

What is happening is this- the water starts to evaporate, it rises up, hits the plastic and falls back down again on to your vessels. That water then begins breaking down the clay ergo cracks. It is not necessary to neither wrap so tightly nor 'dry' for so long a period unless you are creating huge sculptures.

 

Slow drying will always allow some moisture to escape. Here is an example of a slow drying method done in stages-

 

Place the vessel in a plastic bag use a ‘damp’ (not wet) paper towel over the vessel then close off the bag with a twist tie. After about two days you can remove the paper towel. Close off the bag again with the twist tie. After another day or so you can remove the twist tie. Wipe off any condensation that you see on the plastic bag or on the vessel. After a day or so open the bag don’t remove it yet. Now that the bag is opened let the piece dry like that. When it begins to change color and start to look more like greenware, remove the plastic bag.

 

This method will of course depend on the humid or arid conditions in you work space.

 

 

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I use Lana Wilson's Magic Water instead of plain water when making my slip. It works great. If I add a thinner appendage to a piece, I'll usually brush wax resist on the appendage and the join so it will dry at a slower rate than if it was left on its own and I've had very few problems with joints cracking open or pieces falling off. I would probably try a different clay body too.....some clays just do better for throwing than handbuilding. There's some really good advice in this topic.

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I would make sure the sculpture is not beyond leather hard when you are adding to it. Add a little vinegar or magic water to the slip.

I have been working with porcelain paper clay made from my porcelain scraps. Additions stick easily.

There are more explicit details in older posts on this topic.

 

Marcia

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