Saturday, August 25, 2007

500 ceramic sperms ... check!


i just completed my 500th ceramic sperm! YAY!! well, they're ready for the bisque firing now anyway. i still need to glaze them and fire them again, but the hard part is over.

slip-casting:
an interesting technique requiring the use of molds. in this case made of plaster. i made about 15 of my sperm molds and that was a job in itself.

you pour liquid clay, called slip, into the molds and wait a few minutes. the water is absorbed by the plaster drying the clay. but not all the clay, you pour the rest out. and you are left with a hollow form. the time you wait effects the thickness of the piece so you can leave them for like 30 minutes or you'll get a rock solid sperm and you can just pour out the slip after 30 seconds b/c the piece will be too thin and fragile. you can make just about any form you want. although the more complicated the form the more parts there are to your mold.

here are some pictures of me working at the studio on my sperms. at that the time these pictures were taken, i was on sperm number 300 so i had my cycle down to a "T"

1. preparing mold
2. pouring slip into the mold (wait 5 mins.)
3. pouring slip out of the mold.
4. removing excess clay from the pour hole
5. removing the sperm form
6. repeat 500 times

the thing is that the plaster mold can only absorb so much water. so the later throughout the working period, the longer it takes for the clay to safely come out of its mold. so you find yourself waiting and waiting for the piece that its just not time-effective. this is when i call it a day and put my molds on the dry rack (a heated closet). the next day, the molds are dried out and i'm ready to put myself to work.

after the sperm have dried out a bit, i take sponge to each piece and polish them to get rid of rough edges small blemishes. i take a separate day to do this as i am too busy to do this while actually going through the slip-casting process. my workspace is not large enough that i can pour slip into all 15 molds at once. i run two cycles of 7-8 molds.

so how many sperms can i produce in one day? well using my 15 molds, i put them through the ringer about 4 times producing about 60 sperms a day. which means i would be done in about 9 days right? but while the sperms are out of their molds and drying they sometimes warp or i get some hairline cracking in them. i have to toss those out. and of course i lose some more in the bisque firing (more cracking and/or warping) so i need to make more. in all i have probably made at least 700 sperm.

the human testicles are an amazing organ...

1 Comments:

At September 6, 2007 at 1:22 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

i see you've shaved your head again. a good look.

 

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