Friday, March 06, 2009

No Plaster Disaster Today!

I have been making these small tea/rice bowls in a long labourous sort of way for the past couple of months. Each one takes at least 1/2 hour to form. Each coil is laid into a wooden mold and then when the bowl is complete, I smooth out the coils without disturbing the outside of the coils. I have lots of different ideas to decorate these. This one is plain with the red inside and bare clay outside. So I thought I would make a mold of one that is in bisque form at the moment.

The plaster I'm using is a high quality potter's plaster. I bought this batch about a year ago. I stored it outside (wrong wrong wrong) and then my puppy dog, a huge beast of a dog, opened up the container and had a snowy day in the middle of summer. I scooped up what I could, grass, twigs and all, and put it back in the container. I do realize though that I should use new plaster. I even bought new plaster yesterday. However, I hate waste so I thought I would try the old stuff to see how it performed.

So it seemed to be fine, just a bit lumpy and of course the leaves, grass, and twigs were fun texture. So I strained it and put it in this bisque bowl that I never glazed and refired because of a small crack in the bottom. The crack doesn't go all the way so it is great for other uses, like holding greenware beads while they are firing. I thought it would also be just the right size for this small bowl mold. There is the same amount of room on the bottom as there is the sides. I read that a good mold has the same amount of plaster on each side for even drying.

I coated both bisque bowls with Murphy's oil soap beforehand: the inside of the bigger bowl and the outside of the smaller bowl. I mixed up the plaster, strained it into the bigger bowl and placed the bowl to be molded inside. It began setting up immediately.

So we'll see what happens. I don't even know how long it will take. Maybe it will be ready in a few hours. I have no idea. I know enough not to mess with it until it is self-released. Any suggestions are appreciated.

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