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Do you ever get carried away and want to build something LARGE?

Claudia Bruhin making a big clay slab by pounding and paddling clay pieces

Making a big slab

Pietro Maddalena, John Colbeck and Claudia Bruhin discussing the removal of a heavy clay salb

Board of council discussing moving of slab

Common effortLarge clay slab being removed by Pietro Maddalena and John Colbeck

Large pieces chaThrown ceramic vases assembled to form a piece of landartllenge you with the problem of how to handle the mass of clay. Your form may crack or bend or collapse. If you work with a mold your form will cause problems if too wet and crack if let to dry too long.


Here is how Pietro Maddalena, who is currently working on new projects, has solved the problem of removing his ship shaped vessels from the molds:  ” I covered the mold with newspaper, because shaping the form I press and push the clay, which could make it stick to the plaster mold. In order to give the form a certain stiffness, I dry the very surface with a heat gun, it creates sort of a stiff shell that allows me to take out the form without distorting it. Works even better with a textured surface.”

Heatgun on top of a ceramic platter plaster mould Ship shaped ceramic form with textured surface Broken handbuilt ceramic form shaped on a plaster mold


Large ceramic vase built using a tar paper mould

Board of council discussing moving of slab

A great material when building large slab forms is tar paper, used as a waterproofing material in building construction. Marcia Selsor is quite the specialist. Find here instructions  for how to make large slab-built ceramic forms using tarpapermold. Marcia Selsor will teach her architectural ceramic techniques next June here at La Meridiana. A collaborative workshop: She will teach in tandem with Stephanie Stephenson of revivaltileworks, www.revivaltileworks.com and the students will work on many projects together, as large forms just call for collaboration!


Are you curious to know what happened to my large slab?Large pitcher hand built using clay slabs, exposed in the Tuscan countryside as a piece of land art

Landart – not fired but washed away by weather and rain.