• Lion block in terracotta

    The mold is finished for this little lion block and the first hand-pressed terracotta is awaiting firming up before I can take it out in a couple of hours.

    The little lion looks like this in the cast-stone version I’ve had for many years as a wall plaque, but now with the addition of the block he originally had, it will make a nice bookend.





  • Cherub

    I  gave quite a bit of thought as to how to provision these to mount on the wall and make it simple for clients to do so, unlike the cast stone you can’t embed steel in the clay for a hook, so I came up with a way to slide the heavy wire I use through two attached studs through a premade horizontal hole made in both in the moist clay. The screw slid through shows how it would work, and the hole where the wire is slid through can be filled locking the wire in place since it can’t slide out the other side:

    Meanwhile, I am boiling the first cherub on the stove for two hours to get an absorption percentage based on the ^1 fire of this clay.
    Dry weight is 2.99kg or 6.55 pounds, we’ll see what he is in a couple of hours and whether or not he goes well with salad or potatos when cooked 😉

    Now that the test is completed, the cherub was 2.99kg/6.55# dry
    and then increased to 3.06kg/6.75# after two hours of boiling in a large pot of water, the difference is 0.2

    Absorption Rate
    Once you know a clay body’s maturation temperature, you can test it to find out how much water the mature clay will absorb. Using an unglazed test piece that has been fired to maturity, weigh the pot as accurately as possible with a triple beam scale or sensitive digital scale. Write this number down, then boil the pot in water for two hours. Remove the pot, dry it with a towel, then re-weigh it.

    To find the absorption rate, subtract the saturated weight from the dry weight. Divide the difference by the dry weight. For example, let’s say a pot weighed 0.75 pounds after it was fired to maturity. After boiling, it weighed 0.8 pounds. The difference is 0.05. Dividing 0.05 by 0.75, we get 0.067, or an absorption rate of 6.7%.

    Using that formula I come up with a figure of 0.305 or in otherwords a 3% absorption rate, that’s actually very good since 5 to 6% is where most hard bricks are, so the cherub in this red clay is actually more dense, harder and less absorbant of water than hard bricks typically are and that’s a range where I wanted my sculptures to be so they can exist outdoors.