Clay sculptures – The Ceramics Workshop

17/02/15

I came in to inform Isabelle about Kaye’s leave and she told me not to worry, there’s plenty of useful tutorials on Youtube that explain how to use Illustrator but that she would also have a look and show me once I’m done in the ceramics workshop.

So I went over to the ceramics workshops and Tim showed me how to use the extruder, it’s basically a mechanism with a filter attached underneath that has 5 holes in it.

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 I used a dark clay, I pretty much just had to roll a chunk out large enough to fit into the extruder and by pulling on the lever, compact the clay by pushing it through the filter so it looked like this:

I had drawn a few formations as to how I wanted them to sit/twist (they look like an odd cryptic language). From the strands that were pushed out of the extruder, I would check if any had holes or cuts in them because if that was the case I wouldn’t be able to use them, these strands were approximately the same length. I decided on 10 strands because I liked the thickness so I did this process twice for each sculpture, and placed them in 3 layers, closely next to each other. Out of the formations I drew I chose my favourite and from one end, lifted the strands up collectively and twisted them in the angles and directions I wanted to create arches, twists, crevices and knots. I had to be careful because I found if I twisted too much it created tension in the strands leading to either breakage, cracks or holes in the strands. This was hard to capture the process photographically as both of my hands were dug in whilst twisting. With remaining pieces I tried out simple braids and twists because the strands were so perfectly cylindrical that I would never be able to roll out clay like this for my own braids without plenty of practice!

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I really enjoyed working with ceramics, it’s given me a feel for working with materials, especially clay because I had to work out how much I could possible expend and manipulate without causing too much tension which would lead to breakage. I am happy with how the extrusions came out but I’m concerned as to whether they’ll come out in one piece after being fired due to air bubbles. I’d like to think that I’ve managed to avoid this but whilst thinking about this problem right now, I’m thinking if this has occurred I may try to salvage it by using polyfiller (let’s see what Tim says before I come out with any more bad ideas). Tim says they’ll be fired on Friday and ready to glaze by next Wednesday, so that’s when I intend to glaze them so they can be fired again and collected on Monday 3rd.

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