Exploring Sculptural Folds

Hermes2020

Well-known member
Messages
934
Folds have always fascinated me and I've done a number of experiments using folds in sculptural objects. I have shown some of these before, but wanted to show all my experiments with folds combined in one (sorry, big) post. There is one piece in sterling silver. The ceramics are all in high fired stoneware, mostly with rubbed oxide stains and muted glazes. The photos are numbered for easy reference.

1. Ceramic ,270x 180 x 110 mm.
DSC_3102.jpg

DSC_3103.jpg


2. Ceramic, height 300 mm.
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3. Ceramic, height 260 mm.
DSC_3119.jpg


4. Ceramic, height 130 mm.
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5. Ceramic, height 400 mm.
DSC_3132.jpg

DSC_3135.jpg

DSC_3136.jpg


6. Ceramic, height 430 mm.
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DSC_6030.jpg

DSC_6032 zoomed.jpg


7. Ceramic, height 350 mm.
DSC_6037.jpg

DSC_6038.jpg


8. Sterling silver bangle, wearable arm size. Inspired by Frank Gehry's Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao.
zFIUTcf.jpg
 

ZenDruid

Supporting Member
Messages
465
Beautiful work, I like all of these! The textures look inviting to touch, especially the sphere. 👏
 

Hermes2020

Well-known member
Messages
934
Beautiful work, I like all of these! The textures look inviting to touch, especially the sphere. 👏
Thank you. The sphere and number 6 presented the greatest challenges, in that there was the perennial danger of cracking when joining 10 mm thick slabs of clay during the construction and firing of ceramic sculptures. I have a successful technique that ensured that no cracks developed in any of the pieces. The same is true of the silver piece, which was not easy to solder together.
 

Artyczar

Moderator
Messages
8,654
WOW!!!! I am EXCITED by these. I mean so much! I have been wanting to work with clay again. I say again because it's been like 20 years. This just motivates me all the more. Thank you. These are so wonderful Hermes. I am really taken aback. VERY strong work. These should be in a museum.
 

Hermes2020

Well-known member
Messages
934
WOW!!!! I am EXCITED by these. I mean so much! I have been wanting to work with clay again. I say again because it's been like 20 years. This just motivates me all the more. Thank you. These are so wonderful Hermes. I am really taken aback. VERY strong work. These should be in a museum.
I am so happy to hear that you feel inspired by my efforts. If you have done ceramics, you will know the dangers of joining weird shapes together. I am rather pleased that I don't get cracks when my things dry or when they are fired to 1280°C.
 

Donna T

Well-known member
Messages
1,370
These are amazing works of art, Hermes! It must be so satisfying to see and feel the forms develop as you shape them with your hands. I see land masses, vertebrae, the surface of the moon and a ruffled potato chip in these among other things. They are like 3-D abstracts and incredibly beautiful!
 

laika

good intentions
Messages
931
Wow! #2 is like some ancient totem, effaced by decades of exposure to the elements, leaving nothing but the power and mystery.

I love that #6 reveals itself to be a landscape. Reminds of Arches National Park in Utah, US, with so many strangely twisted formations in one locality.
 

Hermes2020

Well-known member
Messages
934
Donna, thank you for your evaluation. You are right: the tactile dimension of making sculptural objects is extremely satisfying.
 

Hermes2020

Well-known member
Messages
934
Wow! #2 is like some ancient totem, effaced by decades of exposure to the elements, leaving nothing but the power and mystery.

I love that #6 reveals itself to be a landscape. Reminds of Arches National Park in Utah, US, with so many strangely twisted formations in one locality.
Thank you, laika. I like the different interpretations of everyone who has commented; sometimes people see things I never even thought about.
 

snoball

Certifiable
Supporting Member
Messages
6,347
Hermes, these are just so wonderful. Great to just look at and very tactile. ❤️
 

pcj

Well-known member
Messages
421
These are fantastic ! My favorites are #1, 3 and 4 in the ceramics and the silver
bangle is just beautiful !

You said that you have a successful technique to ensure that no cracks develop in
when firing the pieces that have the thick , joined, slab construction.
I'd be interested in hearing about this.
The last piece that I attempted to fire went off with an almighty bang in the kiln
resulting in hundreds of little pieces !
Cheers,
Patricia
 

Hermes2020

Well-known member
Messages
934
These are fantastic ! My favorites are #1, 3 and 4 in the ceramics and the silver
bangle is just beautiful !

You said that you have a successful technique to ensure that no cracks develop in
when firing the pieces that have the thick , joined, slab construction.
I'd be interested in hearing about this.
The last piece that I attempted to fire went off with an almighty bang in the kiln
resulting in hundreds of little pieces !
Cheers,
Patricia
Thank for appreciating the pieces, Patricia. I will describe my slab building method in detail in a few hours when I have more time.
 

Hermes2020

Well-known member
Messages
934
My Slab Building Method

All potters have their own favourite procedures. The following are the slab building steps that work for me. The most important factor is knowledge and respect for the physical properties of the clay and how they affect the behaviour of the clay. Here are the main things to take care of when you want to join slabs of clay to make pots and sculptures. Please ask me for more details if anything isn't clear.

1. Type of clay.
I like to add grog to my clay to reduce the shrinkage and to stiffen it when it is wet. Grog also gives a surface texture that picks up rubbed oxides beautifully. For smallish pieces I add between 10% and 15% by weight of grog or clean sand to the clay. For large pieces I have sometimes added as much as 25%, but I would not recommend that for beginners.

2. Wedging
I cannot overstate the importance wedging the clay well to get a homogeneous body. Wedging removes air bubbles and ensures that the tensions in the clay are removed. I always prepare a block of clay that will be enough for the whole project. My preference is for the cut and slam wedging method, which is very dramatic and noisy. A side benefit is that it allows one to show off one's physique in the studio; my record is a block of almost 40 kg. I never use slabs from different batches of clay. This YouTube video shows it well.


During the wedging process the required amount of grog or sand is added to the clay. Once the block has been prepared, wrap it in plastic, keep it in a safe place, and issue a warning that the penalty is death if anyone else uses your clay.

3. Preparing the Slabs
Never, ever, roll the clay with a rolling pin or rolling machine to make your slabs. Most newcomers, especially experienced cookie bakers, will be tempted to do this. Rolling causes uneven tensions in the clay that will cause it to warp and crack at the joints. Instead, make or buy one of these slab cutters.

clay slab cutter.jpg


Lay a sheet of canvas on the table, place the block of clay on it, and pull the cutter through it to cut a slab on the bottom of the block. Make sure to keep the ends firmly on the surface of the canvas to ensure even slab thickness. Then lift off the block and put it on another sheet of canvas to cut a new slab. I like working on canvas, because I can then move the slabs about and turn them over with minimal stresses induced in the clay. Allow the slabs to dry slowly until they are almost leather hard before cutting them to shape with a knife or pizza wheel. I plan carefully and make templates that are larger by the correct percentage to compensate for shrinkage during drying and firing.

For smaller pieces I cut the slabs 10 or 12 mm thick. For larger pieces, around 15 mm.

4. Joining the Slabs
The clay slabs can be joined with clay paste when they are leather hard and stiff enough to handle. I prepare a clay paste "glue", called slip, from small scraps of clay and water in a lidded jar ahead of time. I like it to be smooth and buttery, the consistency of peanut butter. I then score the slabs (a fork is useful for this) where they will be joined and wet the score lines with a wet brush before applying the joining clay past to both sides. After pressing the pieces together firmly, I usually add a roll of clay on the inside of the seam and smooth it with a finger to reinforce the join. I see many people use wet sponges and cloths excessively to try and get a smooth finish on the outside, which can cause warping if overdone. I prefer to scrape the outside with a thin metal kidney to smooth the surface. That exposes the grog texture to accept oxide rubs, which is the look I like, but that may not be your preference if you want it very smooth and shiny.

5. Drying the Piece
Patience is the key element at this stage. It is important to minimize stresses by covering the piece with plastic and allowing it to dry completely, as slowly and as evenly as possible, before firing. This can take many days. Any moisture in the clay may result in an explosion in the kiln.

In my hands, the above steps have ensured a 99% success rate. I hope it will be the same for you. They prevent cracking and warpage, as shown in the straight, sharp edges of this pot I made to test my experimental vanadium pentoxide glaze. The rounded inside corners can be seen clearly.

DSC_6045.jpg

DSC_6046.jpg


Keep the leftover slab scraps. They can be joined in an unplanned, spontaneous way to make bowls and vases. I will show some of those in another post, if anyone is interested.
 
Last edited:

Artyczar

Moderator
Messages
8,654
Wow, so much work and patience. Thank you for taking us through the process! I always hated working with the slip. I didn't like working with clay much, not when it was so wet. I liked the glazing park, and the molding part...it depends on the type of clay, though I don't know much about all of this stuff. My friend who works in clay is going to show me how they work with their type and help me to execute some of my ideas. Maybe in the coming months.
 

Hermes2020

Well-known member
Messages
934
Wow, so much work and patience. Thank you for taking us through the process! I always hated working with the slip. I didn't like working with clay much, not when it was so wet. I liked the glazing park, and the molding part...it depends on the type of clay, though I don't know much about all of this stuff. My friend who works in clay is going to show me how they work with their type and help me to execute some of my ideas. Maybe in the coming months.
I definitely recommend adding grog to the clay. It makes it shrink less and easier to handle when you use slabs. I even add it when I do coiling. I am not a wheel person.
 

pcj

Well-known member
Messages
421
My Slab Building Method

All potters have their own favourite procedures. The following are the slab building steps that work for me. The most important factor is knowledge and respect for the physical properties of the clay and how they affect the behaviour of the clay. Here are the main things to take care of when you want to join slabs of clay to make pots and sculptures. Please ask me for more details if anything isn't clear.

1. Type of clay.
I like to add grog to my clay to reduce the shrinkage and to stiffen it when it is wet. Grog also gives a surface texture that picks up rubbed oxides beautifully. For smallish pieces I add between 10% and 15% by weight of grog or clean sand to the clay. For large pieces I have sometimes added as much as 25%, but I would not recommend that for beginners.

2. Wedging
I cannot overstate the importance wedging the clay well to get a homogeneous body. Wedging removes air bubbles and ensures that the tensions in the clay are removed. I always prepare a block of clay that will be enough for the whole project. My preference is for the cut and slam wedging method, which is very dramatic and noisy. A side benefit is that it allows one to show off one's physique in the studio; my record is a block of almost 40 kg. I never use slabs from different batches of clay. This YouTube video shows it well.


During the wedging process the required amount of grog or sand is added to the clay. Once the block has been prepared, wrap it in plastic, keep it in a safe place, and issue a warning that the penalty is death if anyone else uses your clay.

3. Preparing the Slabs
Never, ever, roll the clay with a rolling pin or rolling machine to make your slabs. Most newcomers, especially experienced cookie bakers, will be tempted to do this. Rolling causes uneven tensions in the clay that will cause it to warp and crack at the joints. Instead, make or buy one of these slab cutters.

View attachment 22703

Lay a sheet of canvas on the table, place the block of clay on it, and pull the cutter through it to cut a slab on the bottom of the block. Make sure to keep the ends firmly on the surface of the canvas to ensure even slab thickness. Then lift off the block and put it on another sheet of canvas to cut a new slab. I like working on canvas, because I can then move the slabs about and turn them over with minimal stresses induced in the clay. Allow the slabs to dry slowly until they are almost leather hard before cutting them to shape with a knife or pizza wheel. I plan carefully and make templates that are larger by the correct percentage to compensate for shrinkage during drying and firing.

For smaller pieces I cut the slabs 10 or 12 mm thick. For larger pieces, around 15 mm.

4. Joining the Slabs
The clay slabs can be joined with clay paste when they are leather hard and stiff enough to handle. I prepare a clay paste "glue", called slip, from small scraps of clay and water in a lidded jar ahead of time. I like it to be smooth and buttery, the consistency of peanut butter. I then score the slabs (a fork is useful for this) where they will be joined and wet the score lines with a wet brush before applying the joining clay past to both sides. After pressing the pieces together firmly, I usually add a roll of clay on the inside of the seam and smooth it with a finger to reinforce the join. I see many people use wet sponges and cloths excessively to try and get a smooth finish on the outside, which can cause warping if overdone. I prefer to scrape the outside with a thin metal kidney to smooth the surface. That exposes the grog texture to accept oxide rubs, which is the look I like, but that may not be your preference if you want it very smooth and shiny.

5. Drying the Piece
Patience is the key element at this stage. It is important to minimize stresses by covering the piece with plastic and allowing it to dry completely, as slowly and as evenly as possible, before firing. This can take many days. Any moisture in the clay may result in an explosion in the kiln.

In my hands, the above steps have ensured a 99% success rate. I hope it will be the same for you. They prevent cracking and warpage, as shown in the straight, sharp edges of this pot I made to test my experimental vanadium pentoxide glaze. The rounded inside corners can be seen clearly.

View attachment 22704
View attachment 22705

Keep the leftover slab scraps. They can be joined in an unplanned, spontaneous way to make bowls and vases. I will show some of those in another post, if anyone is interested.
Thankyou very much for posting this . It's very interesting. I've experimented with rubbed oxides too and sometimes
various oxides swirled on top of a thin white glaze. I like the finished result better than commercial glazes.

I'd be interested in seeing your bowls and vases made from leftover slab scraps.
Cheers,
Patricia
 
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