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styro supports

updated sun 31 aug 97


clay&maxwell on fri 1 aug 97

Kathy - I would be afraid that as the clay dried it would shrink and crack
because the styro was not shrinking. Most temporary supports are made of
wadded newspaper and the like because they can compress as the clay dries.
When sculpting on a support we often had a damp piece of cloth in the
interior and when the piece was finished and not too dry we would cut it
open (to hollow it out and release it from the support). For different
ideas try looking at books that deal with ceramic sculpture. Take care and
good luck on your project.
deb clay
At 09:00 AM 7/31/97 EDT, you wrote:
>----------------------------Original message----------------------------
>I am wondering if I can use styrofoam supports inside a clay sculpture
>and fire the piece with the styrofoam inside? (Electric kiln ^06-^04) I
>am building a kind of hollow arch form and have some chunks of styrofoam
>bracing inside as I build. I'm not sure I will be able to get them all
>out!! (Kind of " boat in the basement" sort of thing). I am going to
>have to cut it to fit it in the kiln and hope I'll be able to fish
>pieces out then if I have to. Anyone have any experience with this or
>suggestions for alternative materials for support?

Karen R. Betts on sat 2 aug 97


I am enrolled in a clay figure sculpture class. The students have three
different methods of supporting from inside. For heads/busts, most used
newspaper wadded and taped to the shape they wanted. Some used pantyhose
with batting material inside. I used plastic bags wadded and taped with
newspaper taped over them. All of these materials were removed before firing
and also before drying was complete. Since the heads/busts are generally
open at the bottom, it is relatively easy to remove the material by laying
it on the back or top on a piece of foam rubber once it is leatherhard. Any
thick spots can be carved out at this stage, and any thin spots can be
shored up. For whole figures, these materials were used only for the torso
and head. These had to be "sliced off" at the back, the materials were
removed, and then the pieces were re-attached. This, also, was done at the
medium leatherhard stage, so as not to deform the pieces as they are removed
and the re-attached. It can be tricky, but I believe that the class turned
out a lot of nice pieces.

Karen Betts
Ceramic Undergrad @
University of Florida