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paperclay update

updated fri 17 jul 98


clay&maxwell on thu 16 jul 98

For those of you who were curious here's how my first paperclay firing
went. :)
I was concerned there would be smoke and fumes. There really wasn't any
sign of visible smoke but there were some ugly fumes after about 550
fahrenheit. This tapered off by about 800. (I thought I'd get the smoke
and fume thing happening at 451 fahrenheit since that is the temperature
that paper burns at - anyone remember the movie "Fahrenheit 451?)
My kiln (Skutt with controller) is in my (attached) garage and I had the
door open during the firing. There was a slight odor in the house near the
garage entrance but it wasn't too bad. As for the fired product I find it
much lighter then ordinary clay but I am still a little concerned about
it's strength. I used lowfire clay that fired white with about 25%
paperpulp and I also experimented with adding stain to the clay body for
some colored clay (also a first for me). I also smashed up a large
terracotta piece that wasn't working and turned the clay into a slip added
25% paper pulp and created a large birdbath which survived the firing. I
plan to glaze the interior and seal the exterior with tung oil (something
else I've never tried but have heard about). All my pieces were sculpted
so I don't know about throw-ability. Handling the paperclay was fun and I
was able to "get away" with adding to almost dry pieces. I did find though
that if you are going to do this you need to have both pieces wetted and
some slip involved or the piece will be too fragile. I had one small piece
break off after firing even though it looked stable/strong.
Overall it was a great experience and I look forward to trying more
experiments in the future.
If you have any comments or questions you'll have to make them fast - I'm
off to Australia next week and plan to go to "no-mail" late Sunday.
Deb Clay from (now) sunny Calgary