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Slip for coating/firing dried flowers?


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Wondering if anyone has any tips or recipe suggestions for dipping/coating and firing some dried flowers, and keeping the detail?

 

I've been asked to see if it's possible to slip and fire a wedding bouquet of flowers. I'm somewhat familiar with firing slip-soaked fabrics (like crochet, fabric, stuffed animals, etc) - and that's fairly simple since the cotton will soak up slip no problemo - but dried flowers is a bit different since there really isn't any mass to absorb the slip, and they are so fragile. I was thinking some sort of slip containing calcined clay and pyrophyllite might get me in the right direction. I already tried a few attempts with a casting slip and a brush-on slip, but I wouldn't really call them successful. I think flower-type has a lot to do with it, but planning to experiment more with some various dried flowers i've got laying around to make sure it works before messing up her actual bouquet. Next attempt will be to do a quick dip to get into the crevices and then layer more with a sprayer.

 

Just wanted to see if anyone has tips on where to go next since I know slip-drenched fabrics are very common, but not so much flowers.

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I am having a hard time imagining how this would work. Dried flowers are so fragile, and I doubt fresh flowers would absorb clay. Depending on the flowers, I wonder what would happen if you misted them with multiple layers of terra sig, letting it dry between coats. I am thinking that the terra sig might stabilize the flowers enough that you could then spray them with a thicker slip. Another thought would be to try spraying the flowers with hairspray or artist's fixatif before doing anything else to them.

 

If you are able to somehow get this to work, please let us know how you did it.

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I've never done this but I like the idea of using hair spray first to strengthen it ... then several layers of thin porcelain slip ... Shake gently then let it dry hanging upside down between coatings. The thing is that even fired it will always be very fragile.

You could also mold each flower with layers of liquid latex, crush the flower, empty and wash the mold then fill will porcelain slip??

I would also quote a very high price and get a 50% deposit with the understanding that it is for your time spent solving this and not refundable.

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i like the idea of using hairspray or a coating of lacquer or similar substance to give the flower some more body before clay goes on. seems like it might work quite well in keeping them from disintegrating immediately.

 

my initial tests were with some dried mullein and lavender flowers, simply dipped/soaked in a white slip -- results were so so and I think it only worked as well as it did because those types of flowers don't have much in terms of "petals" and are more resilient from damaging. I haven't yet tried something like a rose, which I'm guessing might just disintegrate on contact with slip.

 

like i stated before, my next test will be to do a quick dip in thinned out slip to get it deep into the core, then add more layers with a sprayer and see how this works out. I think what I need to find is a slip recipe for high-strength in thin applications, so it's not quite so fragile once finished. I haven't worked a whole lot with slips, but IIRC it's pyrophyllite that will give it more strength??? i will definitely give some white terra sig a try - i think the small particle size will help a lot.

 

the actual bouquet of question doesn't have your traditional flowers in it (like roses), I'll have to check again and see what's in it, but I know there are items like artichoke and thistle flowers in it. Perhaps I'll have to dry out some of the artichokes from my garden instead of having them for dinner this weekend wink.gif

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