March 1, 2006

Porcelain Mold Making Experiment

I am working on a few new pieces inspired by a challenge in my Beads of Clay group. The challenge is the Female Form. My concept is a form for each of the Elements (Fire, Water, Air, and Earth) Of course, mine have ended up all fantasy like: fairies, mermaids, treefolk and whatnot. Water and Air are shown below in the first photo.

I am trying a new experiment making a mold from porcelain. . The technical challenge is getting a detailed mold from the bisque, which is dry and porous. So I am trying to make a mold using wet clay. I thought I would share step by step as I am working on this experiment.

below: the carvings themselves are porcelain, carved while wet, leatherhard, and bone dry. Each one took about 3-4 hours to carve. They are flat on the backs and about 1 1/2"w by 2" high. They have been bisque fired to cone 06.

below: a wooden "handle" is hot glued to the back, for something to lift out of the clay
below: another view of the handle
above: rolling a thin slab of porcelain, about 1/4 inch thickabove: setting the carved surface on top of the slab and pressing down as evenly as possible, using the carving like a stamp

above: pushing up the walls around the carving. I tried to press down on the carving as I did the edges, so it didn't shift.above: All the sides pressed up and smoothed out evenly. The carving is then carefully pulled out of the clay using the handle, trying to pull straight up and not distort the surface underneath.
above: on the right, the carving
in the center, the mold made in this example
on the left, the first try at making the mold, with the edges smoothed even further

Will this mold work well? I don't know yet! I have to fire it now, as it is very fragile at this point. The nice thing about firing it is that the clay will shrink and will look more detailed. Stay tuned as I fire the molds and try to do a pressing later this week!


  1. Wow! this is great. Your technique is so much more efficient and effective than mine. Will you be putting this on your website? Do you mind if i link to this entry?

  2. Hey thanks Andi! Sure, link it up... I really should add it to my website. I better wait until I have the final result and it is successful, lol!

  3. Way cool ... can't wait to see the results!

  4. k.truslowking@yahoo.comWednesday, March 08, 2006

    I love this- can't wait to see the finished product - and as I love mermaids, can't wait to have one!