Some 20 plus years back I made a series titled, Eroded Contours. It was a process oriented series. The pieces were meant to be hung on the wall, but one of the pieces found a home in my garden.
1. Made a plaster mold of a large philodendron leaf. Used it dry as a press mold for a mid-range stoneware body. Pulled several pieces. Fired them in a high bisque, cone 5. Broke them into pieces.
2. Used the same plaster mold wet to pull waxes.
3. Inserted some of the broken ceramic pieces into the waxes keeping in mind that the ceramic pieces could shift when the wax burns out.
4. Gated, then invested the lot.
5. Sent the investments through the burnout.
1. Would there be a shift in the position of the ceramic pieces as the wax burned out?
2. What would happen to the ceramic pieces when hit with molten bronze?
3. What would happen when the bronze and ceramic pieces cool?
4. What would happen to the ceramic pieces embedded in bronze during the breakout?
Everything went quite well. Better than anticipated. Some of the fired ceramic pieces did fracture. A few bits were lost in the process.
When the fracture was more than I wanted, I mixed up a batch of Egyptian Paste to use as a filer. The plan was to glaze and fire the lot, so the addition of a cone 016 paste was compatible with the glaze temperature.
This is how the piece looked when removed from the garden. The pieces are long and quite narrow so a bit difficult to get a decent image.
The majority of the piece is bronze. The whitish areas stained with rust from the oxidized wire. I had forgotten that some of the pieces also had wire. The wire was bound on prior to the glaze fire. Firing the wire made it a bit fragile and after years in the garden, some of the wire was broken and missing.
I was curious if the rust stain was permanent, so I washed the piece with a solution of water and epsom salt.
Some of the wire has vanished, but left its mark.
This is how the piece looks after it dried overnight.
This is the detail of another piece in the series–
This bronze vessel has been moved around in my garden several times. Can’t quite figure out where to put it. It was constructed of palm cuttings and jute twine. Waxed the twine, then gated and invested the piece.
There is always the possibility when doing a direct burn-out that some of the material will not burn-out completely or some ash will remain and prevent a good pour.
After the pour and break-out, a low-fire glaze was applied. Then the piece was fired to cone 015.
These are a few of the photos that I took the day of the Eroded Contours
pour and break-out. A chain was used to pull the investments from the pit. And a fork lift was used to remove them from the foundry.
The length of the largest piece was 4.5′.