Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Fun with Fiber Clay

So, I decided to plunge in and make some fiber clay. We've been saving up some egg carton type packaging from Christmas presents as well as actual egg cartons. I put 300 grams of this paper into a large bowl and added boiling water to help break down the structure. Soon the entire house had that scrumptious odor of wet card board. After it cooled enough for me to work, I started whipping it with an electric egg beater on high speed. Soon enough I had broken down the structure into a raw pulp. I used a sieve to separate the pulp from the water, although the pulp was still very moist. I weighed my paper mass again and it was up to 800g. I took 1600 grams of recycled clay I was keeping and added enough water to make it slippy, then worked the clay until it was consistent. Now, I mixed the paper pulp into the clay slip and again with my hands this time worked the two mixtures together until they were a uniform consistency. The mixture was a bit too wet to work with at this point, so I set it up in 2" thick 4" high walls on a bat to dry out. I have about 2000 grams of fiber clay with what I figure is about 30% paper mass which will burn out during bisque firing.

I started working on Christian's moon scape lamp shade. It needs to get a little firmer, but I have the basic shape I wanted. It is very easy to change the shape of fiber clay forms with a little water. I want to make this moon look a little more round by tucking in the bottom edge a bit.

Then I decided to make a form for making a plaster cast of a face. This is a thin later of paper clay over a blank plastic harlequin mask. After this dries, I will flip it over and use it to make a plaster cast of the inside. Then I can use the plaster mold to slump as many blank masks as I want.

These blanks can be used to make actually interesting and artistic masks from clay, as well as fun masks for the kids from paper, or paper mache'.

Sculpturally, I can also see that they will be a great starting place for sculpting faces on bronze forms.

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