Looking back at the bowl project I really enjoyed the challenge of using a new material in a short space of time, it definitely pushed me to learn quicker and experiment more. I definitely struggled at the start, because I’ve never been taught how to use porcelain I had no clue if what I was doing was right, luckily Zoe Preece came to talk to us and I learnt a lot from her and other students in the talk through discussing her work.
Because of the short turn around, I didn’t have time to analyse my work after it came out the kiln, I had to guess the problems that could happen and make a variety of changes for each piece beforehand. My initial mould did not have a base, it was suggested that the bottom would warp if it didn’t have any support underneath, I decided to make another mould which had a base to solve this problem.
I looked at other porcelain work to see what their thickness was and how translucent they were, this was the only indication I had on how my pieces would turn out. Usually when slip casing, the slip has to stay in the mould for around 20 minutes, with porcelain it only needs to sit for five minutes maximum if you want the light to travel through. Because I wanted maximum translucency, I was trying to push the timing to around a minute or two, I felt I was rushing the pour trying to keep the timing short, the slip was quite thick as well resulting in streaks setting on the bowl where light needed to travel through. After the talk with Zoe Preece, she mentioned that she adds water to her slip to slow down the process and maximise translucently. I wasn’t sure how much water to add to my slip so I decided to top up my slip bucket with water which was 4/5 full, this definitely made the casting process easier and fewer streaks set because the slip was thinner.
This was the light with very thick walls. I was very surprised at how much light travelled through, this was cast from the initial mould and as expected the base has warped a lot resulting in light travelling through the bottom.
This bowl has much better translucency, you can tell by the colour of the light compared to the other bowl. Although this was made using the second cast, a lot of light still seems to be travelling from the bottom, this is something I need to work on for my artefact.
For the light, I used an LED strip of bright white light, I think it worked well to evenly distribute the light, for these prototypes it workes well, I will need to consider how to fit them to a professional standard if I want to use light for my final work.
A couple of problems I saw after firing was the glaze and surface of the porcelain, the black matt glaze workes but I hoped it would be darker, because the base is round it shows the reflection of the light, looking back at Sophie Southgate’s work, I noticed her surfaces are textured, this helps with the illusion aspect. For my next pieces, I want to experiment with glaze application and get them as thick as possible to achieve a texture, this will create problems because of the thinness of the porcelain, it could create too much tension and cause the form to crack. The other problem was blistering on the surface, this could have happened because they went into the kiln raw, for my artefact I will bisque then first to see if it solves this problem. I also want to add a translucent glaze over the porcelain, I want to see if this will affect the translucency of the lighting, I know it will affect the matt illusion effect, but I might be interesting to experiment with both textures.