More Plaster Lathing Experiments and a Clay Board

Today I spent much of the day in the plaster room working on the lathe and slip-casting. I produced 2 slip casts of my ‘vase beaker’form giving a total of 3. I am hoping that in a fortnight I should have about 15 to fire and glaze making my first ever production of a series of ceramic ware. I am still playing around with stoneware slab build vessel ideas and need to produce some more glaze samples to decide on their finish. I also will be doing some research into glazing slip-ware (its earthenware slip I have been using) and whether I want to use a straightforward glaze or a slip glaze.

A problem I have been experiencing with clay working in my studio space is that it sticks to my laminated board WAY to much and just makes life difficult when trying to do anything like wedging, rolling slabs and cutting out shapes. So I decided to make a cotton (calico I think) covered clay board. I found a large laminated board in the skip, a cotton sheet at home and with a staple gun I stapled around the edge with the fabric stretched tight across the boards surface. To hold the fabric tight in place whilst doing the first side of the board I used some spring clamps on each end to hold it fast and then with one hand stretched the fabric and with the other stapled it taught. This is exactly the same way as I made the one I have at home. Now when wedging and rolling and slab-building clay the going should be much easier.

On the lathe today I made two forms, one a geometrical, round ’tile’ the other a vase form. My plaster chuck was really dry this morning as I made it a couple of weeks ago so I left it in bucket for half an-hour to get it nice and moist for best workability, too dry and it would fill the room with dust and lines and ridges can get brittle. I centred the chuck pretty quickly and soon had made a geometrical-ish style round tile thing to practise and get my hand in.


Next I made a vase form with a bulbous bottom body interrupted by a sharp shelf three-quarters the way up which sweeps into a long neck. In my head, as I was working the form into the plaster, I imagined it to be a bit more of a longer,thinner and fluted neck, the type of which I have been looking at and will inform the forms of my ceramic pieces to come I think…



Certainly the next one I work on next Wednesday morning will be informed by the last, probably with the same full lower body interrupted by the sharp edged shelf that flows into a thin neck leading into a slightly wider throat with a subtle lip.





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