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Published by: mittal.subodh82 on Jun 18, 2009
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Glass Molds
PotteryMaking Illustrated
November/December 2004
mpressing your ceramic plates and bowls withdesigns from the back of glassware is an ideal wayto add interest to your ceramic pieces. By pressing aslab of clay on the back of the glass, you can trans-fer the design to the front of a plate or bowl.You can find reasonably priced glassware with interest-ing designs to serve as molds at thrift shops and varietystores. Or you can pick through the pieces at antiquestores if your budget is a little higher. Once you start look-ing, you’ll find many different kinds of glassware with avariety of interesting designs to use as molds.
Rolling Out the Slab
Once you’ve selected a mold, roll out a slab of clay thesize and thickness needed for the plate or bowl you’re
Glass Molds
Old glassware found inthrift shops that haveraised or impresseddesigns can add varietyand texture to your ware.
by Lou Roess
oll out a slab of clayon a piece of cloth (1)then place the glass moldon the slab and cut out thegeneral shape, leaving aborder of 2–3 inches fortrimming (2).Let the slab dry untilyou can smooth it with arubber rib and apply alayer of tissue paper toseparate the mold and theclay (3). Place the mold ontop of the slab with thepatterned surface againstthe tissue paper (4).Quickly and smoothlyinvert the mold and clay,(5) and place the mold ona chuck in order to raise itoff the table (6).
making. Leave about 2–3 extra inches all around toallow for trimming. How thick you make your slabdepends on how big it is—the bigger the item, the thick-er your slab should be.A couple of handling tips: First, rolling out your slabon a piece of cloth, makes it easier to handle. Second,be careful how you roll it out. Rolling a slab in just onedirection can cause stress and warping, so flip yourslab over several times and change the rolling directionto minimize warping.
Molding Process
Once your slab is the right size andthickness, place your mold on the slab and cut out thegeneral shape, leaving a border of 2–3 inches. Whenusing a sharp knife, use the back of the knife tip to avoidcutting the cloth or your table surface.Allow the slab to dry until you can smooth it with arubber rib or finish the surface the way you desire. If you want to use a slip on the clay surface, now is thetime to apply it and let it stiffen. Applying it after mold-ing the form may obscure details.
Separation Layer
. Apply a layer of tissue paper to sep-arate the surface of the mold and the clay. Tissue paperworks well because it’s thin yet strong enough to besmoothed over the damp clay surface without tearing.You also could use light plastic, like dry cleaner bags, ordust the surface liberally with talc, but talc may affectthe color of the clay after firing, and plastic may make ithard to trim the edge. Also, plastic must be removed toallow proper even drying.Using your fingers or a soft rubber rib, smooth the tis-sue outward from the center to the edge. If ridges form,lift and re-smooth. Work quickly so the paper doesn’tbecome saturated and tear.
Place your glass mold on top of the clayslab with the patterned surface against the tissuepaper, then quickly and smoothly invert the mold andclay. (You’ll find that this method keeps the paperattached to the clay better than picking it up andinverting it onto the mold.)For the next step, the cloth should be uniformly damp.If dry, dampen it with a little water from a spray bottle.Use a soft rubber rib to wipe the surface gently butfirmly to get a smooth surface on the back of the piecewhile pressing in the design. Wipe in different directionsaround the slab as well as from its edges to the center.Be sure you cover the whole surface. (If you mark astarting point on the cloth and work systematically,you’re less apt to miss a spot.)
November/December 2004
PotteryMaking Illustrated
Use a rubber rib over a uniformlydamp but not soggy cloth, to pressthe entire surface gently but firmly(7) and then carefully press theedges of the slab to conform to themold (8). When leather hard, trimthe excess clay (9). Hold the bladeparallel to the table, and and cutcarefully so it doesn’t tear the clay.When it is dry enough to hold itsshape, flip andremove it fromthe mold (10).Smooth the rimby using a littlewater betweenyour thumb andforefinger (11).
Remove the cloth and press the clay down around theedge to conform to the shape. Be careful not to press toohard or you’ll create a thin area around the edge.
Curing & Trimming
Allow the clay to dry until it’s soft leather hard. Usea thin knife to trim the excess clay. Press on the clay justin front of your blade so the cutting action doesn’t pullon the clay edge and tear it apart.Be careful not to trim the rim too thin. With experi-ence, you’ll be able to judge just how much clay toleave around the edge of the plate.
fter molding. To prevent sagging, place thepiece back inside a pie plate or another,slightly larger mold to give it support.After molding. To prevent warping, set aweight on a padded surface like foam rubber soyou don’t mar the molded surface.Before finishing the rim. Rub or pull off the tis-sue paper at the rim to prevent it from bunchingup and leaving ridges in the clay while finishingthe edge. The rest will burn off during firing.
PotteryMaking Illustrated
November/December 2004

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