Contamination

Working in pottery (especially doing so without any formal training) has often made me wish that I had a better background in chemistry. But even more so, it has made me glad that I don’t suffer from an obsessive compulsive disorder. Ceramics involves enough issues surrounding contamination!

I mentioned in the earlier post that I don’t often work with terra cotta slip because it can contaminate other materials. It also leaves stains. I thought a picture of a new plaster mold with its first pour with the slip might be a good illustration. Needless to say, this is a dedicated terra cotta mold. It cannot be used for the ordinary white earthenware slip I usually use, because the residue would stain it. I also have separate mixers, pitchers and tools for working with red clay.

Since my work area is relatively small, I tend to shut down the casting and glazing end of things whenever I work with red (or other colored) clays. I did this over the weekend so I could cast a few more test tiles. I am also using the down time to work on a handful of small jobs that don’t involve regular greenware or underglaze. One of those is a mold of a medallion for Meows and Minis, a show hosted by Chris Wallbruch that benefits Cat Guardians. The medallion was sculpted by Becky Turner of Soltice Art Studio. I’ve long admired Becky’s medallions, so I am looking forward to translating them into clay. I also though it might be helpful to show how a medallion is prepped for moldmaking, so I’ll be doing that in the next day or so.

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