Monday, March 22, 2010

Ultimate potsticker repair

Springtime in Las Vegas - one of the best times of the year. People who live here say this is is the reason we're here - it's simply gorgeous.

I've been spending a good deal of time working on ceramic pieces - finishing up a small tile commission, and working on a set of platters, like the one shown below. I call it my Ultimate potsticker platter, as it has a small bowl incorporated into the platter, perfect for holding the dipping sauce.

Someone visited my Etsy shop and asked if I would make a couple of these of these for them, only with two bowls, so that they could use these for sushi serving platters. The two bowls could hold ginger and wasabi.... smart!

I've created a plaster mold that I use when making these platters - and everything was going well until one of the feet fell off! These feet are made using an extruder, and are attached later, when the clay has set up a bit. Attaching two pieces together is usually pretty straightforward, you score the clay (scratch it up a bit) and then use a little slip (liquid clay) as a "glue" for attaching the two pieces together. This usually works very well.

But I wasn't watching what I was doing and knocked the foot off.

I could have thrown the whole piece in the scrap bucket and started over, but this platter had some very interesting texture on it, so I didn't want that to go to waste. Then I remembered a recipe for repairing clay, and thought I'd give it a shot. I've used it before with very good results.

Basically, you make a "glue" of one-third vinegar,

one-third Karo syrup

and one-third clay slip.

Those two pictures of our dogs were painted by my friend, Stacey Campbell, who does amazing portrait work. The top one is of my Weimeraner, Ipo. And the other is of Lily, our miniature Schnauzer. Both passed away recently, and we keep Stacey's paintings in the kitchen, as a way of keeping them near us. (We sort of drew the line at keeping their ashes in the kitchen.)

I just love walking into the kitchen in the morning and seeing Ipo and Lily in there, while I'm making a pot of coffee.

To make the ceramic repair, mix the three ingredients together

dampen both pieces of clay that will be attached,

and then spread a little of the mixture, like a glue.

This stuff hardens like cement, rather quickly, so make sure you position it correctly the first time.

I wiped away the squeeze-out, and cleaned the bottom of the platter. You can barely tell it's been repaired. As long as both pieces of clay were moist enough, the piece will stay in place without any problem. If it pops off, one of the pieces probably wasn't wet enough.

l let the piece completely dry before putting any weight back on the foot.

A simple and effective repair! I wish repairing wood was this simple!

OK, back to the studio... I have 200 pounds of clay calling my name today... oh, one more thing - if you're interested in having a portrait painted by Stacey, you can contact her here.

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