Thursday, October 4, 2012

Mishima in a Sling Mold

Mishima, misleadingly named for a Japanese city from which it did not originate, is a method of inlaying slip, engobe, or soft contrasting clay into carved or impressed texture. As I'm still having fun with my homemade texture roller, I decided to try some mishima decorating with my Monday-funday Handbuilding class. It worked so well I reprised the demo for the Tuesday Afternoon Delights and the Tuesday Awesomeness gang.

It was a sort of two-fold demo: I started by making an ad hoc mold from a rubbermaid bin and an old sheet. This is great if you want to build a larger platter or shallow bowl than you have a mold for; any container can become a sling mold. I just lay the sheet over the top, then tie a rope or bungee cords around the bin to hold it in place.The device looks a bit like a bassinet, when the sheet is secured in place. You can adjust the curve to be deeper or more shallow.

I rolled out a relatively thick slab - 1/4 inch or thereabouts. I then used the handy-dandy hot-glue texture roller that I made a couple of days ago in my home studio to impress a texture, before laying the slab in the mold. I trimmed the edges, and then lightly paddled the edges to compress.

I left it alone for a couple hours, hoping it would firm up some, but it really didn't; it was raining outside and quite cool in the studio, and of course the bin was plastic. I decided to go ahead with the mishima so the class could see the technique, even if it was less than ideal; but actually it worked just fine even on wet clay.

I spread thick slip from the sides of the bucket over the surface of the platter, then used a rubber rib to remove most of the slip, leaving behind whatever had sunk into the texture.
After letting the piece dry for a few more hours, I added a rim, made of flattened and stretched coils. Once it was leatherhard enough to move without distortion, I threw a foot - basically just a cylinder with no bottom, which I altered to be a loose rectangle - and attached it by laying the platter on top of it, while the foot ring was still quite wet. 
I ended up altering the foot much more than it appears at the top of this post, because the foot seemed so...static - in contrast to the loose, dynamic rim. (This is a constant issue when combining thrown and handbuilt elements.)

This piece will not be dry enough for the next bisque, but will make it into the one after that; I expect it to be finished around the end of this month.If it comes out especially well, I'll list it in the Pottery Shop!
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