Friday, May 28, 2010
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
1. When I'm satisfied that my paper pulp is sufficiently broken down, it's time to strain the excess water out of the blended pulp. For this I used an ordinary strainer. I let the excess water drain out and collect enough "pulp ball" to fill about 1/3 of a 5 gallon bucket. (first picture)
2. Do not squeeze out all the water from the "pulp ball." (second picture down)
3. This was the extra pulp that was left over from all the paper packaging I used. (third picture down)
4. The Black Mountain clay slurry is in the left bucket, the pulp is in the right one. By volume, clay slurry is 2/3, pulp is 1/3. (fourth picture down)
5. Mix and blend the two together. Makes for a very delicious looking mousse-like consistency! (fifth picture down)
6. I use my concrete patio a lot for drying out the clay-pulp mixture. This will take a few days to get to a kneadable consistency. The next step will be testing this Black Mountain paper clay and see how it performs. (last picture)
1. My left over Black Mountain clay was cut up and left to dry in the sun.
2. It took about 2 days in our hot Southern California weather to dry out. I was in no hurry so I left all those chunks outside. In the mean time, I went ahead and prepared the pulp from left over paper packaging.
(2nd picture down)
3. The big chunks were broken up and put into a 5 gallon painters bucket. (3rd picture down)
4. Water was added till the tops of the clay chunks were covered. Let sit until completely slaked. (last picture)
After the clay has been well soaked, blend till about medium thick oatmeal consistency and get rid of any lumps in the clay slurry. Add water to thin out if necessary.
I decided to make a paper clay version of it from my left over Black Mountain clay in my studio. This article will be in 3 parts.
Part 1 - Making the pulp
Part 2 - Making the Black Mountain clay slurry
Part 3 - Mixing the pulp and the clay slurry
Part 1 - Making the pulp
The sequence of pictures correspond to the notes on the left side.
1. To make the paper pulp, I decided to use left over paper packing instead of a roll of toilet paper, just because I have them around the house and I wanted to experiment using this material. (first picture)
2. The paper packing was torn up into small pieces and put into a 5 gallon painters bucket. (2nd picture)
3. It was soaked overnight. You can also let it soak for a couple of days, if you like, to facilitate the blending of the paper into pulp. (3rd picture)
4. I used an old hand held immersion kitchen blender to cut up and blend the paper packaging into pulp. Adding more water helped in the blending. This takes a bit of time. I had to do this in batches since I can only go so deep with the immersion blender.
Monday, May 17, 2010
Sunday, May 16, 2010
- Make a dry to dry join.
- Let it dry completely to bone dry.
- Pull it apart.
- If the pieces come apart cleanly at the join, then you know your joining techniques need more practice.
- If the join holds and your piece breaks away from the join, then you have made a good strong join.
- the sun (it's free)
- electric heat gun
- propane torch
- microwave oven
- regular gas oven
Thursday, May 13, 2010
- Paper clay should not be stored for long periods as liquid slip as it becomes smelly when bacteria grows in it. Mixing some disinfectant (Clorox, PineSol, liquid detergent) to reduce the risk and prolong shelf life. Avoid Clorox if you have sensitivity to bleach.
- New paper clay slip can be made easily by adding hot/warm water into a bucket of paper clay dry scraps. See earlier post on making paper clay slip.
- Do not contaminate new batches of paper clay slip with old batches. If you are using the same bucket, wash out the bucket well with hot water and soap.
- Wash, scrub hands well with soap and water before handling food.
- Prolonged exposure to any clay dust should be avoided and is deterimental to your health. Always wear a face mask if you are going to be handling a lot of dry paper clay, or when sanding, carving bone dry or bisqued pieces.
- I would also recommend wearing a face mask when cleaning out a bag of paper clay with mold growing on it to minimize breathing in the mold that has been made air-borne. Wear disposable vinyl gloves if needed. Scrub and clean your work area and your hands thoroughly after cleaning out a bag of old moldy paper clay.
- Minimize air-borne clay dust by using wet sponges, rags, mops to maintain a clean working environment.
- Clay dries out your hands so moisturize your hands frequently.
- Above all, use common sense. First priority is your safety and health.
Monday, May 10, 2010
A dear friend of mine and fellow artist, Barbara Speck, spent some time interviewing me (Thursday, December 3, 2009) for one of her projects for her BFA degree. Here's her report in its entirety.
I had the pleasure of interviewing ceramic sculptor/artist Anthony Foo in his
home/studio in Placentia, California. Although he discovered his love of art in his youth,
only recently has he been compelled to focus exclusively on his craft. He freely shared
about his life as a working, exhibiting artist: his inspirations, triumphs, disappointments
and perseverance. His pieces embody not only his passion but his intellect as well.
Mr. Foo believes artists are not necessarily taught but born, though some take
time to realize the meaning and importance of art in their lives. Mr. Foo is a
primarily self-taught artist with a Bachelors degree in Biology/Immunology, an
Associates degree in Graphic Design and a certificate in Business. Though he has
enjoyed creating art as far back as he can remember he only started taking
ceramic classes in the mid-eighties at the Irvine Fine Arts Center. He recalls making
sculptures from mud as a child and appreciates how the path now culminates in his
Mr. Foo works with paper clay as opposed to traditional clay because he loves
its’ strength, versatility and ability to be manipulated. He appreciates that is can be
changed easily even once dry and that it can simulate different materials such as wood,
metal and gravel. He enjoys the tactile sense of the clay and the feeling of caressing it as
he sculpts it. He is most influenced by eastern philosophy and his upbringing in
Mr. Foo has a passion for abstract sculpture. Of this he said, “The most satisfying
part is to take an abstract thought, turn it into a 2 dimensional sketch and then manipulate
it into a 3-D form. I enjoy capturing the thought and seeing the end result” (Foo, PC).
The least favorite facet of being an artist is the business aspect according to Mr. Foo. He
would be happiest to just concentrate of creating and someone else worked on the selling
and marketing aspect. Though he did say “It is the greatest compliment when someone
wants to buy a piece that they connect with emotionally” (Foo, PC).
Though Mr. Foo has followed an artistic path since his youth, it wasn’t until a
few years ago that he made the decision to devote his life to art. Mr. Foo worked as a
graphic designer for several years. While he enjoyed being a graphic designer, he was
able to make the decision to retire from graphic design to concentrate on ceramics full
time in 2007.
Mr. Foo has been in several exhibitions including shows at the Irvine Fine Arts
Center, Grand Central Gallery of California State University Fullerton, City of Brea Art
Gallery and the World Gallery. Additionally, he has won several awards for his art. He
also enjoys teaches paper clay sculpture at the Irvine Fine Arts Center. Mr. Foo sees
himself as a sculptor in the long term likening his artistic self-expression to a pressure
valve that releases stress and allows ideas to go from simply ideas to full realization. He
also believes it is important for fellow artists to realize everyone goes through phases,
sometimes creating nothing and other times with multiple project in the works. One
should not worry about the slow times and use this time to think and contemplate ideas.
He believes the biggest obstacle facing the emerging artist today is how art has gone from
a necessary and vital record of our culture to a luxury. It is now more about acquisition
than communications of ideas. Art has become expendable. We need to realize arts true
importance as it holds our culture together. (Foo, PC)
Mr. Foo’s message to emerging artists is simple, straight forward and eloquent.
“Follow your dream and be brave” (Foo, PC). Following Mr. Foo’s inspiration and
advice I believe an artist can see the importance of art and the need to continue to create
not just for ourselves but for everyone around us.