Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Zapping Paper Clay

I am making these slab built vases from my scrapped paper clay that was reconstituted. When it came to the lugs, the clay was a bit too soft to be attached, so I decided to speed up the drying process by zapping them in the microwave. The setting was at 50 % power for 30 seconds bursts. It took only about 2 times to get the paper clay firmed up enough for me to continue work.

I have upped the power to as much as full power for a minute without any problems in my other projects. There will be a lot of steam coming out when you zap it for so long, so please be careful.
This type of forced drying works for paper clay because if its structure. The hollow microscospic cellulose fibers allow the heated water vapor (ie steam) to escape safely without causing the piece to blow up. Understanding this is even more important when you use microwaves because the object is heated from within..

In attaching the lugs to the sides of the vases, I'll be using the standard leather hard clay joining techniques, ie score and slip. You could also wait till all the components are bone dry before you attach them. In that case, you will be using the dry to dry paper clay joining technique.

Disclaimer: Use with extreme caution. Do this at your own risk to yourself and to your microwave. 

1 comment:

Lori Kiplinger Pandy said...

How interesting! I'll have to give that a try sometime.