Friday, September 12, 2008

Forming the concertina spine

This week I finally managed to get back to work on the flag book. You may remember this post where I showed you how I made the mould for the concertina spine.

To form the clay spine, I roll out a slab of clay. When it's nearly as thin as I want I lie some plastic sandwich wrap over the top and press it onto the clay surface. I can then use the plastic to lift the slab and flip it over, so I can apply plastic to the other side. Having the plastic as a support allows me to handle to clay slab a lot more easily, roughly even, and I can roll the slab much more thinly without it cracking.

When the slab is the desired thickness, I lie it onto the mould and begin to stretch the clay into the angles of the mould.

Below you can see I leave the plastic on the clay at this stage
because it lets me shape it quite firmly without cracking.

Next I cut the clay down to the desired size and then continue shaping the angles and smoothing the clay surface. When I'm happy with the result, I cover the slab loosley with plastic to slow down the drying process and leave the clay to dry and firm up. When it reaches "leatherhard", it will hold its shape and can be removed from the mould. The clay is still quite wet at this stage and can be carved and smoothed gently. It is important to remove the concertina from the mould at this stage because as the clay dries it shrinks, and if left on the mould it will eventually crack.

Below you can see the finished concertina spine sitting on a foam
cushion. Now I leave it to dry thoroughly before the bisque firing.

1 comment:

  1. What a fascinating look into your process Amanda, thanks for sharing it with us.