Sunday, July 20, 2008

A Clay Concertina Spine

If you've been wondering about the outcome of the firing I mentioned in my last post, it was only so so. It turned out that there were eight pages without cracking, but they weren't my "best" ones, so I decided to make some more and then make my selection.

While they were drying I made a start on the second porcelain book I want to make. It will be a flag book, and the whole idea is to play with the idea of the moving flags. If you're not sure what a flag book looks like, my book "Like Weather" is an example. By making the entire book from porcelain, with no hinges or joints of any material at all, the flags will be immobile.

I have to confess that except when absolutely necessary, I avoid mould making and casting my work for one simple reason. I don't enjoy the process. But there are times when it really is the best way to make a form, and the concertina spine in a flag book is one of those times. Joining all those 1 inch wide slabs and getting the angles just right, would be a very tedious process and highly inclined to cracking and inaccuracy. By making a mould, there is the opportunity to re-use it in the future, to make more concertina spines if this one turns out well.

First step is making the desired shape in clay. Here's a sketch from my visual diary to show you what I am setting out to do.
I made a rectangular block of clay and I am carving out the V-shapes at the angles shown. I've made a couple of jigs at the correct angles from old credit cards to help. Here's a photo of my progress so far.

Surprise! Surprise! I am actually enjoying this part of the process! This is as far as I made it because unfortunately late last week I had a migraine. It is taking me a couple of days to get my brain functioning again, but hopefully tomorrow I'll be able to finish shaping the clay.

This week I've also done some work on a couple of my trip photos. I've posted the results on my flickr photostream, if you are interested.


  1. This is really interesting Amanda, and a bit mind boggling as well to someone who only works in paper. Can't wait to see how it turns out. I'll be watching with great interest. Hope the head is better now, you don't have time for migraines with all you're doing.

  2. Amanda, I'm giving you the Arte y Pico Award for your always enjoyable and interesting blog. Please go to my blog for all the details. Carol

  3. Your plan for this semester sounds good - hope it'll all work out for you! Can't wait to see how your clay-book progresses, quite an undertaking, you're not making it easy for yourself, but in the end you'll have something magic and it'll all be worth it.

  4. Hi Marjojo,
    Thanks for your support. It's interesting you said I'm not making it easy - I hadn't really thought of it that is a technical challenge, but it's also the medium I'm most experienced in.