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Willow Pottery

Handbuilding Question

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The recipe from MarinaVern makes good Magic Water. One gallon will last a long time, and I've found that using it to make your clay slip is added insurance for success. By the way, if you don't have a gram scale, 5 grams of soda ash = one teaspoon.

 

Do you blend any of the seams and connections? It shouldn't take weeks (months?) to dry your work. Usually if working with leather hard clay, any appendages/additions--if scored and slipped--should be simply a matter of wrapping in plastic until the moisture content of old clay, slip, and new clay evens out. If you have thin edges, protect them with plastic for longer duration. How wet is your clay when you initially start your pieces? If it is too dry, perhaps it pulls too much of the liquid from the slip away and weakens the bonding site.

 

Lucille's advice on slow drying is right on. Anytime I want to keep something wrapped longer than 3-5 days, the first thing I wrap the piece with is sheeting or an old T-shirt. I don't even moisten the cloth unless the work is large and I'm working in stages.

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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 mighjt want to try adding a very thin coil around the attached area. Smooth/ blend the coil into the clay. Blending should help. Also, I've never waited that long for pieces to dry, unless I couln't get to the studio.

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