Over the past week I have been in and out of the university workshop asking our ceramics technician Sean Kingsley about potential Production methods and techniques in the development of my final piece. From many discussions it has been decided that slip casting would be the most appropriate method of production. I intend to create the vast majority of all my components this way, a lengthy and time consuming task. Due to this I must begin immediately.
Slip casting involves first creating an exact replica of your designated piece out of plaster. This can be achieved by hand carving the solid plaster or by turning it on a lathe (if the piece is cylindrical). I intend to create all of my pieces on the lathe to start with and will then hand carve the details out of the cylindrical piece afterwards. This process can take a long time and must produce a perfect replica. The next step involves the user casting a large block of plaster around the replica mould, the result of this process can be seen below. The plaster cast must be built in sections in order to completely immerse the replica mould. After the plaster walls have been complete the replica mould is removed and a clay slip is poured in its place after a little while the unsolidified slip is poured out leaving a thin skin on the walls. This is then left to turn leather dry (dry to the touch) to allow the final alterations to be made and to allow for the fusion of other parts, eg a handle or spout. The part is the glazed or finished appropriately leaving the final part. The images below display past students work from James Rice (www.jamesricedesign.com)
This process is a difficult one to perfect and so it is expected that I will go through many iterations and attempts, as can be seen in the image below.