Tuesday 19 May 2009

Extruded clay, pugmills and barrels

Thinking that I should really have some interesting 'work in progress' for Spring Fling, I started a new seat this week. I've got some ideas going round my head that I need to try. The 'throne' was a bit narrow for a reasonable sized bottom, so I needed a larger diameter object over which to mould the clay. After rolling the oil drum round from the coal shed and getting it to the back door I decided that it was looking rather too dented to be any good after all. I went back to the original water tank, but how was I to make it four inches fatter?
Got it - wrap it up in bubble!
Now just when you might all be thinking that this extruding game looks a breeze...... nothing is that simple. The lengths started to tear horribly, and it got worse and worse. Allie and I struggled with the pugmill all afternoon, even resorting to cooling the poor overheated beast with damp cloths. I think maybe my little half horse power mill is being pushed to its limits.

We had to give up in the end and let the machine recover. The next day I got Rodger to come and help feed the hopper. Three minutes in there was a yelp - and he withdrew a nastily sliced finger. It appears that the safety grid had corroded and worn away leaving shards of razor sharp metal.
Here are some shards embedded in the screw...
and here is what was left. With so much to get done this week, I had to roll the last two huge slabs by hand and get the top of the pugmill to the blacksmith. Why DID I take this on right now?
The second bisc kiln was fired with this ridiculously too-long dish in it, on a slanted shelf again. Actually it is for a commission and had to be that length, but it is getting a bit silly I know,
A pile of glazing, most of which I got through today. The kiln was packed eventually, but I have at least three kiln loads worth to fire. I keep mis-judging how much space my bigger pieces take up. I'll get some more smaller things in the top loader tomorrow and both should be unpacked on Friday, in time for Spring Fling. I'm a bit afraid that by that time I will actually be ready to collapse.


  1. I do hope Roger's finger is okay. For a second there I thought you were going to say it got caught in the pugmill. (A nightmare I have for owning one myself)
    Great thinking w. the bubble wrap.
    Well it looks like you're due for some upgrades with all the larger/longer work you're making. Maybe a more powerful pugmill and a bigger kiln sometime. Good luck getting ready for the Spring Fling!!!

  2. dangerous places studios!! yeah maybe an upgrade for more power is needed, your work doesn't seem to be getting any smaller..and i must say i've never seen a diagonal vertical pack before, i think you get the award for most creative pack of the week, happy springing too..