Course outline: Students will develop skills to make plaster molds for ceramics. They will learn the properties and various working techniques of plaster in order to make hump, slump, press, one piece, simple 2 piece and tile moulds. The composition, adjustment by understanding flocculation and deflocculation, and use of casting slip will be studied to enable the student to make slipcast pottery.
When we entered the studio on Monday morning Angelo Di Petta has covered our wedging table with interesting looking objects. Some are just beautiful and they all have different shapes, colours and angels. I read the course outline and to be honest, I didn’t quite know what to expect. I know what a mold is, but that’s about all I know as far as ceramics is concerned. Now I can see with my own eyes: all those shapes I have wondered about, all those angles I did not know potters achieved them. I get it now. Making moulds. I am impressed without Angelo saying anything and happy to be here.
He asks if anyone knows anything about the process and some enthusiastically start explaining what they know. I am relieved when he still starts his explanation from the beginning because I didn’t even know liquid clay existed. He walks us through the process and explains about plaster, angles, 1, 2 & 3 piece moulds & much more.
When we are to begin I am totally confused. I didn’t get it, I still don’t get it and I am a bit worried I am not going to get it any time soon.
We work on a piece upside down & are to imagine how it would look right side up. There are to be no undercuts because the piece will not release from the mould. Right… We build the form, mix plaster, laugh, hurry, pour, shake and worry all at once. He helps where he can, but this is the first time I think we ALL NEED HELP. He ends up running around, helping us all at our different stages and staying calm. I would have gone home by now if I were him.
I am absolutely mind blown at the end of our week when we are all pouring liquid clay into our moulds. With a little help from Lela, who is the queen of “getting your form out of the mould if stuck” we have 16 forms 30 minutes later. They are perfect. Who would have thought this could happen and who would have thought we could succeed. Obviously Angelo did and I am happy about that. Mould making #1 was a success and we are all looking forward to the day he will return and teach us some more.