ceramics dirt to digital projectBy, solomon Boukman
Introduction: for this project I decided to challenge myself and take on making a woven basket out of the clay. I have never done anything like this before so I had to watch many videos to see how I would go about starting. So, here is my project!
Using the clay in its plastic stage, I had to make long strands that I would use for weaving the actual basket. This machine uses a lever to squish the clay through a small hole that woulld determine the shape of your strands.
After inserting the clay into the machine I had to pump the clay through the small rectangular holes.
After lots of hard work I finally got the machine to consistently pump out these strands of clay
This is what it looked like as I pumped it out.
I'd have to make about twenty to twenty five equal sized strands such as this to have enough to weave the whole basket.
Throughout the process of laying out slits Mrs. Kiick constantly reminded to keep my clay strands very moist while weaving to make it easier on myself. There were a few times I let my strands dry out and I had to restart my process. Also I had to choose the size of my basketc before weaving. So I chose a prism shaped mold to work around..
To start my weaving off, I placed a strand into the center of the mold facing vertically and then two other strands going the other facing horizontally. This is the start of the over under weaving pattern. This pattern is also used in other activities such as knitting and crocheting.
I did the weaving for this in a single period because I did not want to have it dry out overnight. It is very important to keep the clay in its plastic stage during this process or else you would not be able to weave without your strands cracking and breaking.
After I was finished weaving I heavily sponged, what was the bottom of my basket for at least three days. I had to make sure there were little to no imperfections because I would not be able to go back and fix them after taking my basket off the prism shaped mold I am basing my basket off of.
This is the finished product of the bottom of my basket after sponging. Also during the sponging process I made sure that my weaving was tight and that my basket as a whole was starting to transfer over to the leather hard stage. I did this by leaving some air in the bag every night I wrapped it.
Flipping the basket off of the prism mold was easily the scariest part of my whole process. I had to make sure the basket was at a perfect dryness level. If it got too dry it would just crack in half. If it was too wet it would collapse. Since the basket was already in its leather hard stage I had to dry it with the heat gun just for a few minutes to finally feel comfortable enough to flip it.
After flipping I had to sponge the new exposed part of my basket. After a few days of this I decided that I was ready for it to be fired. So when I was ready I left my basket on the rack to wait to be fired. In its time waiting to be fired the basket went from leather hard to bone dry.
This is the basket fresh out of the kiln in its bisque state.
After coming out of the kiln I had to sand down any imperfections left. This was to make sure the basket was smooth as possible. When I finish this part of the process I will pick out a glaze and then prepare it for its second firing