Carving the Plaster Slab

Using a soft mechanic pencil I draw my design directly on the plaster.I then carve my design into the plaster, keeping in mind that anything carved into the plaster will end up as a raised area on the final slab. 
 like to carve the mold while the plaster is still a bit damp since it is softer at this point and easier to carve.  It also leads to less dust.  Still, there are drawbacks to this method.  When transferring your design, it is very easy to mar the surface of the plaster with your pencil or scribing tool.  The ink from markers will bleed a bit, and pencils sometimes do not draw very well on wet plaster.  Also, if you use a paper template, the paper will become damp and warp a bit as you trace your design.  If you carve your mold when the plaster is completely dry, take precautions to minimize your exposure to the dust and use a mask.

Once my design is carved I make sure all the plaster dust has been cleaned out of the cavity since any plaster contamination will ruin a final ceramics piece! There will still be a bit of plaster residue left, so I press my first tile with some scrap clay.  

Making Plaster slab

Ordinary pieces can become quite extraordinary when we add texture in them! The most common way to make texture is by impressing various objects into the clay. One of the ways is by using plaster slabs and carving patterns on to it. 


I started by joining four pieces of wood into a rectangle frame and reinforce and connect the joints with clay into the sides and edges. Place the frame in the middle of a clean sheet of glass.  

Measure the water first when mixing, and put it in a plastic bucket . I Sprinkle the plaster lightly and slowly into the water to prevent it from clumping (for me its always messy this part lol).  Stir the mixture by hand. The stirring should be done in such a way as to agitate the mixture and drive out air bubbles. It´s important to not whip or whisk the mixture. The point is to get  the air out, not in. A good method of stirring is to put the hand, palm upward, on the bottom of the pail and wiggle the fingers vigorously. I Continue to mix for two or three minutes until i felt the  plaster  begin to thicken. 

On the table with an absolutely level surface, I pour the plaster evenly into the frame so that when the plaster flows it will make a layer of even thickness. Then I bump the table vigorously immediately after pouring to get the plaster to flow into all the corners of the mold and for air bubbles rise to the surface. I let it set for 30m/1h. After that I safely remove the wooden frame and lift up the slab. It’s now ready for carving

Lines and emotion

Black and white mark making fantasy through nature exploration/narrative/storytelling . I don't aim for perfection because life isn't perfect. The lines represent my emotions. Some are carefully drawn while others reflect my impatience and tiredness . Still a work in progress

My initial ideas

The Inspiration and initial ideas for this project stemmed from the summer spend with my godsons and brothers telling stories and walking through the forest and beach at a Victorian village in Conwy, north of wales.  I intend on developing my work based around my drawings developed during that time and examining the form, patterns, and shapes inspired in that environment. 

It´s good to be back!!!

Where does the time go? One minute you’re excitedly starting our first Uni year and in a blink of an eye Third year finally arrived!!! I’m sorry I haven’t been blogging more, too much time working over the summer and enjoying the outdoors, and now I’m furiously working on whatever has currently captured my attention. I have some new ideas that I want to explore this year, I want to be inspired by life around me instead of trying to reach targets and meet expectations with materials. I want to get into an idea and explore it the best way I can, explore, develop, expand and get excited about all the new things I discover along the way. I also want to try to explore my illustrations  using ceramics as my main medium since it has been a true love of mine for over past four years. Being able to manipulate clay into new forms is such a beautiful way to express yourself. So now It’s time to let the exploring begin.

© Copyright 2015 Andreia Rodrigues