Tuesday, July 20, 2010

ALaW - Part Two 'A' and a change of medium...

The alphabet challenge ALaW 2010 continues and we now find ourselves into July and the second alphabet. I was going to use recycled teabags, but I have decided to explore my primary medium, clay.
Our task - to be experimental and explore different techniques...
I have chosen to use Porcelain clay, and will be using different methods and techniques to create each letter. Seeing that they are so small and my kiln much larger, I have decided to complete the whole alphabet.... then place them in a bisque, glaze, then fire to Stoneware. So each image initially will be at the raw stage until I start firing in the kiln.

Using a slabroller to make my 7 x 7cm tiles, firstly, I have to allow for shrinkage...each clay body has it's own shrinkage rate and at different temperatures. In this case I've allowed for 12% shrinkage. Fingers crossed the end result will come close to the desired size!
Great skill went into the design for cutting the tile, a round tin close to 7 x 7cm. Yep... that'll work, a flaten here and a flaten there, makes for a nice 7.84 x 7.84cm (must allow for shrinkage)square'ish shape...a test drive and it's a go'er!
Patience is a must in claywork especially in the winter months. Once the slab is rolled the tile can be cut...care must be taken as clay has a memory, if it is distorted at this stage and reflatened it will remember and distort back in the final firing. So it is left until the leatherhard stage (inbetween - wet & dry) before working on it.

A - Carving technique: light pencil drawn to transfer letter with tracing paper, with a carving tool cuts into leatherhard clay. Thought is applied to the angle of the cut to create a 3D effect. Carving at the leatherhard stage creates little beads of clay along the cuts these are left until the clay is dry enough to sand off to keep the edges sharp and precise.

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