April 17, 2008

Small Batch 2

I wanted to get these on the blog for those of you out there who are keeping score, and wondering about the rest of the clay processing. Here is a picture of my makeshift blunger,

a 1/2 inch drill that has a lock on the power grip so that I can walk away from the high pitched whirrrr of the mixer and busy myself with other things that need attention around my kiln/studio compound. There's always something to do...Then after about 10 minutes

I pour the slip through the sieve. It's a home made job that is about 15 mesh. If you look closely, it is simply made with metal window screen with a heavier screen below for support, all nailed to a 2X4 frame that spans a large garbage can. I give the whole sieve a few bounces to get the balance of the slurry through, leaving small pebbles and a few quartz stones. Then after the 30+ gallon can is filled with slip and the layer of clear water from settling has been removed with a siphon, the slip is poured

into 8 foot 2X4 frames that have a heavy wire screen nailed to the bottom,(It would have been so much easier to take a picture of the empty frame, tomorrow...)and a poly cotton bed sheet placed inside. (poly/cotton because this slip can sit in these frames for up to 3 weeks if the weather doesn't cooperate, and the 100% cotton sheets rot.

Then the excess water in the slip drips through the sheets and onto the ground and eventually the slip becomes clay that can be handled. Wow, a lot of work, but I really do enjoy it, especially on a beautiful day like today! What I don't enjoy is having to wait for the slip to dry out.

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