Ceramics- Scaling up

In order to start producing my larger work in Clay I needed a template first, I scaled it up previously by drawing larger lines around the original (shown in Foam work-previous post), but this didn’t work very well- it suddenly came to me to try and use a projector! I placed the paper on the screen and adjusted the size, then drew round of the projected shadow.

Doing this activity also made me think I could use a Projector in order to display some of my smaller works!

The images of this are shown below:

Once the template was made I then had to measure the inside of our Kiln at the University and cut the stencil down accordingly. Then came the clay work:

Each section took a while to make as it’s hard to roll large slabs of clay out by hand. On the side of each I marked a number and an arrow to show me which section is which and which way up each one goes. To make each of the holes I pushed a small circular tool into both sides of the clay and then made each one look more presentable using a paint brush and clay slip. Once I had waited for each piece to dry out a bit this happened to my largest section:

This crack most likely happened due to the size of the work, as the Buff Clay dries out it shrinks. I didn’t fix this large crack as I ran out of time for this project and to fix such a large crack in slab Clay would be very difficult.

Now I have finished scaling up the work, I’m currently waiting for the last piece to be fired. I will then put each tile together using metal wire and Pliers,for now here are all the pieces so far laid together.

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Two pieces broke off of two sections that had been fired. I just glued them back together as I do not intend to glaze this piece of work. Two sections also broke off from the large section that’s still drying out before it can be fired. I will have to fire the three separate pieces and glue them back together afterwards. It’s also interesting to see how much more the larger piece has warped in comparison to the smaller sections. A lucky tip for next time I scale up.

Once the final section has been fired I will join them all together. Please stay posted.


Ceramics-preparing to scale up

Hello all, to start off with here are the fired pieces of work from my last set of experimentation:

Now that each piece is fired I can take the joint testing works and put them together, as shown:

After putting these pieces together I have realised that I really like using the holes and wire; the duality of two materials works really well in my opinion and the gaps in between bring another angle into this work. I think the sticks and loops haven’t worked very well, the pieces aren’t joined rigidly enough.

I also started making another joint testing piece using holes in the width and pegs to place into the holes, as shown:


Once I made this I then waited for it to dry out and be fired. Here is the fired version:

I feel that the shrinkage between tiles for this tester wasn’t too bad, however all of the holes poked in the sides were slightly different shapes and sizes due to shrinkage. I tried to make ‘pins’ to fit into each hole by rolling up small lengths of paper and wedging them into each set of holes. However the paper wasn’t a strong enough medium to hold the weight of both tiles. Therefore, at least for now I will dismiss this method of joining as it’s too difficult to make ‘pins’ that fit and hold the tiles.

Next I wanted to figure out roughly what shape and size I want my scaled up piece to be so I made two foam templates to have a play with the size and form. I did this by sewing a length of metal wire into the base of the foam and bending it loosely into different shapes. The pictures of this experimentation are shown below:

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I decided that I like the larger sized cut out and I like form 5 the most which resembles a zigzag shape. I decided to try and make this shape as it will be easier to make than a curved piece as I can make each section flat but introduce the zigzag shape by the way I join each tile with the metal wire.

From here I will start making this larger piece of work.

Ceramics- experimentation continued….

Although I have made a few different forms of 3D shadow casts I want to keep experimenting with forms so that I know the final forms I choose will be the right ones to use. I have made these pieces in the same way as the others; using slab clay, cross hatching sections together etc….

This is a far smaller version of a full body shadow that I drew from one of my models. With this small piece I wanted to experiment with the curve of the body shape.

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Here are a mixture of other bodily forms, shown below:

With this piece I wanted to see the effect that layering up three identical layers (of different thicknesses) on each other but at an angle and with curves added in on the top.

I also wanted to explore the ways that one of my fired compilations could be displayed, I made each layer with a few holes poked through so I could experiment with hanging them but unfortunately I didn’t make the holes big enough and as the clay shrunk in the kiln they did not poke all the way through. I tried to poke a needle through them but it was no use…..

I decided instead to place small pieces of foam in-between each layer to see if the ‘contour’ look had any merit with gaps in-between. I positioned the foam pieces so that each gap was larger than the last in order to see which gap size was best suited. Through doing this you can see that each layer isn’t perfectly flat and I think that perhaps it looks a little too scruffy.

Now that I have completed some further experimentation I think I am confident in which forms I want to portray on a larger scale. Next is figuring out how to scale a piece of work up……

Studio- Fired Clay

The Clay pieces I made from Buff Clay in myfirst post have been fired! Here they are:

The images shown below are of the blended hand that has finally been fired, although it had cracked considerably. I have learned that I should have removed some of the clay from the center of each layer so it could have dried out more easily and therefore would have fired properly- although I like the way it looks cracked.


Studio- 3D transcription experimentation

Hello all, just to recap this is a post of my experimentation work following on from a previous post on my old blog (www.noelgasmart2.wordpress.com). I have previously drawn round the edges of peoples shadows and I am now attempting to transcribe these 2D drawings into a sculptural form. This experimentation is shown below.

At first I tried to make a 3D object using thin metal galvanized wire, I felt that this went badly, although it gave me an idea of what to try next.

I attempted to make two wire layers of outlines of shadow drawings- then I thought I could do the same in Clay to make it appear as contours. This is shown below:

Stage 1: Traditional style contours


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I cut out the drawings and took photos of them and printed them out smaller. I then placed the small cut out onto the rolled clay and cut out each layer making each one smaller and smaller and therefore adding in new layers of distortion. I then joined each layer by cross hatching both sides and painting slip onto them, then placing the layers together and wiggling them so the grooves sit together. I then touched it up with a bit of slip.

I quite liked the visual effect this produced and I’m thinking of making more.

Stage 2: Separate layers

I made layers in the same way as above but I chose to keep each layer separate so that when fired I can experiment with the display of them. I also placed small holes in each layer so I could hang them if need be. The process I went through to make these is shown below:

Stage 3: Curly cut outs

I wondered what both of these shapes would look like if they were entirely rolled up, so I made one of each and rolled them, as shown.

I wasn’t that keen on how the rolled head looked but I thought the rolled hand looked really interesting; you can imagine the hand coming alive and rolling itself into that form!

Stage 4: Blended contour

Next I wanted to try a contoured piece like the first one shown, but with the edges blended in so it didn’t look as staggered. This process is shown below:

I really liked this outcome, I asked a few people their opinions and they said this one seems a lot more fleshy and creepy than the others. I think if I was to pursue this method of making I would like to try a mixture of body shapes using this technique and the first perhaps.

Stage 5: CurvingĀ 

Once I had made all of these contoured pieces I suddenly realised how generally flat they are so I thought I would make each layer separately again but add slightly more shape to them and also make them so they will stand up. In order to do this I would have to cut each layer slightly differently as one side would have to be straight in order to stand. This is shown below:

Once I had made this five piece work I thought it would look great on a huge scale. I also like the fact that each angle gives you a different idea about what the work represents/is about.

After a few days of my first Clay piece drying out I decided to use it as a mould for an idea I had. I had seen previously someone heating up some synthetic material draped over an upside down bowl with a heat gun; the material melted and became solid and rigid once it had cooled. I wanted to try this same process using my clay work as a mould rather than a bowl, this is shown here.

I tried this process with as many different samples of synthetic material possible but unfortunately none of them quite captured the level of detail that I was after. Perhaps I need a specific type of fabric or perhaps the mould was too complicated for this process.

I then thought about contouring using thick corrogated cardboard instead of Clay, afterall its a lot cheaper and less labour intensive.

I tried cutting out the hand with a knife but I found it too difficult to cut it out in a precise and professional way. Therefore I’m not going to continue with this material.

Now I’ve tried these methods of experimentation I think I would like to continue with some of the methods I have used in Clay but on a larger scale and with a wider range of drawings- this means I will have to pull more models in!

Please stay posted….. ta!