I now have my kiln back in my home studio after removing it from the gallery basement which seemed like the ideal place for it at the time I bought it. So it’s set up now at home where it’s much more convienient to monitor.
I fired a couple of older raw clay original models with complete success, including the Astor Place subway beaver model which was just 1/4″ less tall than the inside of the kiln with the lid closed.
I’m considering “converting” the Art Deco D5 model into a terracotta line, here’s the original clay model that I fired in the kiln a year ago after making the rubber mold for casting it in interior cast-stone and concrete:
In order to “convert” it to enable making them in fired pressed clay, I would have to make a positive cast in rubber and then make a 5 piece plaster mold of that positive rubber cast. The idea of the rubber positive is the rubber is soft and “gives” so that pulling a hard plaster shell mold off it, undercuts slide right out easily.
Once I have the positive rubber I can make molds from that as needed, making one to start with. When the plaster mold is dry then the clay can be hand-pressed into it, allowed to stiffen slightly, removed, dried completely and then fired in the kiln.
One thing with the “converting” is that in the processes there is about a 5% shrinkage of the clay from wet to dry and another 5% shrinkgage during firing for a total of about 10% or 1″ loss per 10″ which on this panel will result in it being about 2″ less wide and maybe 1-1/4″ less tall.
I think this fall/winter I’m going to do this.
Actually, I decided to go ahead and order the $200 worth of mold rubber I need to make the replacement mold for this since the original mold rubber by Quantum Silicones that I used in 2007 to make the first mold turned out to be total garbage. Hopefully this weekend if the rubber arrives before Friday I will have the master cast all set up and ready to mold Saturday.
I should have enough left over from the two gallons added to the left-over rubber I have on hand to make the positive mold too- on Sunday if all goes well.
At least with this I can get the process started, I don’t have any molding plaster on-hand to make the press-mold with though, and the regular cast stone is not suitable for this as it hardens up extremely hard and is not absorbant as the molding plaster is.
I might just get a bag sent to me UPS as I don’t want to order a pallet load of material right now.