TECHNIQUES AND PROCESSES - GENERAL:
In ceramics there are various shaping techniques that vary according to the type of piece we intend to create. In the case of my sculpture, the main method is the flattened slab of clay. Therefore, my main tool is the slab roller. This machine is made of two rollers: a fixed one on top and another adjustable bellow, between which the clay body is compress through, flattening the clay into sheets of even thickness. The thickness of the slab obtained will depend on the space we leave between the rollers. That uniformity is important to prevent cracks and splits in the sculptures. The thickness that I generally use for sculptures is from 0.4 to 0.5 mm in pieces of small and medium format, and from 15 to 18 mm in pieces of large format.
Hand building of the Piece
We prepare as many slabs as pieces we are going to make. Next, using wood modeling tools and slip (an aqueous suspension of clay body and water that acts like glue) I join each slab, shaping and building up the piece. I always do a preliminary sketch that, although it can suffer transformations during its execution, saves a lot of working time.
Once the piece is built, it’s left to dry in a humidity free environment. That’s why in our case we place it on shelves next to the kilns, where the residual heat contributes to speed up the process and where breezes can’t deform it. After a week, we are ready to bisque firing. Considering that we use costly electric power, we seldom waste space in the kiln with a single piece. In general ceramists try to stack their kilns with a batch of pieces for a more productive firing.