Friday, August 25, 2017

box in a box

A new project underway which may be submitted for an exhibit if it works out.  I never like to say it's a sure thing until I open the kiln after the final firing.

The head is decorated, somewhat minimally, with colored slips and engobes.  Not sure yet if I will be glazing this.
 The main part of the project, building the box, especially with the extra step of a recessed inner box, requires a fair amount of planning.  I used templates.  In measuring, you must allow for the thickness of the clay which is 1/4 inch thick.  So for a six inch square box, two of the outer sides are 6 inches and two are 5 and 1/2 inches. Sides are butted together on top of the square slab. Making sure the sides are at a 90 degree angle to the slab which is the front of the box is just as important as all the measuring.  If I continue to use this shape I might build frame or two right angles out of wood to use as a guide.  As it was, I used a couple of small scrap boards to press the sides against.  This seemed to work pretty well in squaring up a couple of wonky areas.  Same process used for the recessed box, only those sides are a quarter inch narrower than the ones on outside of box in order to accommodate the small slab which backs it.  Then the box is flipped over and the small square is cut from the front to form the inset.  Of course all the pieces were slipped and scored throughout  assembling and I followed up with working narrow coils into the seams.
You can see in above picture that I also added a couple of blocks to thread a wire through for hanging.  Unless some warping occurs in the firing this piece has the option of standing on its own.

All the pieces were a stiff leather hard before building.  It is very important to have the separate slab cut-outs dried as close as possible to the same moisture content.
Right now I have the box slowly drying.  Then bisque fire, glaze, glaze fire and cross fingers!


  1. Sorry this comment is so late arriving, but I just wanted to say thanks for a wonderful description of the process of building with slab. I think it is something that is lots harder to do well than people realise, and requires a degree of planning so that everything fits properly and dries without cracking or warping.

    1. Actually, on re-reading this I can see where my description might sound confusing. Unfortunately, I rarely think to stop to take step by step pictures because I get so absorbed in the making. But yes, It does take a whole lot of planning and patience!


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