WORKING WITH PAPER CLAY

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paperclay pulp


PAPER CLAY VESSELS

If you want your textures to show well, mix in less paper pulp. Perhaps only a half a roll of toilet paper per 25 lb. package of clay.

paper porcelain vessel   

Paper clay makes drying the pieces an overnight process.

   

They dry evenly with only two cracks appearing. They were easily mended with additional paper porcelain and no new ones appeared after firing.

The body with less paper was strong enough to survive casual handling of the greenware.

   

I was also able to repair cracks in fired pieces and refire them. Some practice is needed to make these repairs but you could succeed most of the time.


Carving into the clay is much easier with the lighter paper load.


carved porcelain

They stood up well, so I would recommend only 1/2 roll per bag of clay if you want to carve or texturize the finished pieces. I would not use more than one roll per 22 lbs. for normal handbuilding.


COLORED PAPER CLAY


I added Mason colors along with a minimum amount of paper pulp.

  paper clay murrini        

Floating Blocks' is the first pattern I've made with "paper" porcelain.

I built the murrini loaves exactly as I do with ordinary clay.This pattern is simply large blocks of color with straight black lines. I let it rest overnight, then created pieces from the loaf.

The murrini was trickier to slice since the wire caught and dragged paper bits across the surface. The cutter had to be cleaned after every slice. The drag marks were superficial and could be smoothed with a rolling pin.    

  

The patterns moved with the rolling motion and as a result, the two surfaces did not match up. The lines did not stay crisp but smoothed out in soft shadows and hazy color. Even after drying and cleaning the patterns kept this dream-like appearance.

The pieces fired much the same as regular Southern Ice. They are still translucent, you can see the inside lines from the outside.


I pressed stamps into the surface. The marks softened, but kept their shape.

For someone who is detail oriented, it took a while to appreciate the randomness of the results, but I grew to really like the surprises and decided to design the next patterns specifically to exploit the movements. 

I used the leftover clay for swirled and marbled patterns.


This pattern is named ‘FantasticSea’. It reflects my love of scuba diving. 

 

 While I was examining these bowls in the sunlight, I noticed another thing. 

There was an inner pattern totally separate from the surface patterns.

 

The inside moves with the direction of the rolling pin regardless of the outside appearance.

There are three layers, connected, but moving about at their pleasure.

Now, this was really getting interesting. I enjoy contrasting rigid patterns with the flowing looseness of form. My next pattern would demonstrate this contradiction on three levels.  

This pattern is called “Bangled” Once again we have floating squares of color 

but now with awide pattern boundary. These lines were even softer and since they were on a white background It was easier tosee the shadows. It think it was the first sweep of the rolling pin.

 The reason I believe this isthat I always roll each piece several times in all four directions yet only one really shows up. So, the first horizontal sweep shows as well as the first vertical one.


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This interior pattern cannot be seen in a thicker piece.


If you want to know more about all types of paper clays and methods used to work with paper enriched clay I urge you to visit Graham Hay’s excellent site. 

        

Copyright © Chris Campbell Pottery, LLC  chris@ccpottery.com