Paper Clay Ceramic Slip


Last week I wrote about how I fell off the one craft only wagon and purchased a bunch of ceramic molds. I am very excited about their arrival and I wanted to share some of my adventures so far. I have about 10 40 pound bags of stoneware slip, which I purchased my first year teaching (1998). My dad found me a kiln and a cache of doll molds in 2000 and I poured a bunch of baby doll heads and photographed them with a pinhole camera. The images are creepy, surreal, I love them. Some of the heads are porcelain, some are stoneware. My focus shifted for 8 years with the arrival of one and then another real life baby.

Last week, I decided I wanted to try to make paper clay slip and pour some funky retro molds from my childhood, so I went off to ebay and now owls and Christmas trees are winging their way here as I write. In the meantime I dusted off the old doll molds and throw caution to the wind.

Paper Clay is any ceramic clay with cellulose added, there are a bunch of ways to make it and a couple of good books out there but I did not want to dry the clay and hand build with it. I just wanted to pour it into molds and create lighter more durable ceramic casts. Here is a pdf created by Judy Nelson-Moore that highlights the advantages of paperclay

To make my paper clay
  • Use the Hollander beater to grind up my junk mail and create recycled paper pulp
  • Drain the pulverized paper pulp for a couple of days
  • Add the paper pulp to the existing slip
  • Wait until the following day to mix the slip with my whiz bang drill mixer
  • Add a bit more water to create the correct flow of slip
  • Poured it into a couple of my doll molds
The first day it worked like a charm, the second day it was sluggish and thick again. I need to add a defloculant (Sodium Silicate - makes the clay not stick together). Third day it was beginning to smell. I think I will add some tea tree essential oil or some Dr Bonner's Tea Tree Soap to act as an anti bacterial agent. We are in the middle of some serious Fay rain so I have not made it into my clay studio (shed). My slip should be super stinky by this weekend. Obviously, I need enough molds to use up a batch of slip in 2 days.

Stay tuned. I will be loading the kiln Monday.

1 comment:

tinil said...

We are one of the biggest manufacturing of ceramics ,sodium silicate

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