Thursday, August 23, 2012

Wine, dinner, conversation & cleaning up slip cast cups

A friend of mine, who I met through the studio a couple of years ago, is getting married in just under 2 months. She is from Medicine Hat and is having the wedding at the Medalta Historic Clay District. They have a brand new museum and events space that they rent out for just such an occasion. She decided to make all of the cups for her guests that they can take home and she wanted to cast them all out of porcelain. She is braver than me, that's for sure. The learning curve was steep, as she had virtually no knowledge of how to make a plaster mold or how to properly cast etc. But, with many an hour spent watching YouTube videos on the process, and reading everything she could about it, she almost has the 170 cups she needs. The tricky bit was that she only has 2 plaster casts, she works during the day, and just doesn't have the extra time to clean the casts at the right time. So, a few of her friends and I met her at her house last night and started sanding the “almost dry” greenware that she had been making since March. Imagine a cup, left to drain out over a rack on top of a mixing bowl on a kitchen counter for probably longer than recommended. You get a cup with very uneven rims. It was tricky, but we did it. With a little 80 grit sand paper to remove the uneven rims and fine steel wool to sand down the surface to a very smooth finish, we did it. There were some losses, I'm not going to kid you. One wrong move and the cup would be in pieces. Some of them you just had to look at the wrong way and they would crack.

I volunteered to make her 8 small Medaltaesq crock pots for her as she is quickly running outta time. I won't have to fire them, just throw them, trim them and put her “logo” in blue underglaze on them. She will be taking all of her cups and crocks down to Medalta to fire at the Shaw Centre, where they have many many kilns. So she should be able to get them done quite quickly. The only tricky bit will be transporting 170 very fragile green ware cups for the 3 hour drive. There are train tracks and I am sure some speedbumps along the way, so my fingers are crossed for her. She will need to have them all done and down there by Thanks Giving if she wants to get them done in time.

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