From where we left off below...the mold I made in part one was fired to cone 04, so it is now ready to use
below: a small ball of clay is rolled into a smooth ball and flattened to about the size that will fill the mold. This comes with some experience pressing the mold a few times. It is better to have a little too large of a piece of clay. The most important thing is that the clay should be soft and smooth where is is going into the mold.
below: the clay is pressed into the mold firmly, near the center. Great care should be taken not to let the clay shift once it hits the mold, or the design will be doubled. The clay can then be pressed out into the corners and sides.
below: Any excess clay is scraped along the edges. The back side of the clay is smoothed out as much as possible
below: The back is stamped with my chopmark. The clay is left in the mold for a little while to stiffen up. This is crucial timing...the clay should be stiff enough so it comes out of the mold easily and without distorting, but also not too stiff so that the holes can be made. It takes practice.
below: after the clay is removed, the holes should be made. I use a soldering pick for most of my holes. The pick is pressed from front to back the point can be felt on my finger beneath. Then the pick is removed and pressed from back to front, making a clean hole.
below: The holes are flared out a bit with a spout tool (or a pencil or other sharp flared tool). The piece is left to dry.
Once dried, there may be some clean up needed. Notice the edges in the picture above. The edges are sharp and ragged. This will need to be scraped with a sharp knife and then smoothed with a damp cloth for a soft finish. The pieces are then bisque fired, glazed, and then glaze fired. Maybe another tutorial for another day...
Here are the finished pieces: