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Robert Compton Pottery
Christine Homer Weaving

2662 N 116 Road, Bristol, Vermont 05443
802-453-3778
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Wheels & Throwing
 
Slip Casting

There are many misconceptions about slip casting.
Robert is self taught in the process, which he pursued when a back injury prevented him from throwing for several years.
Architectural Clock forms
were cast in two piece molds.
This design required a five piece mold.

Slip Casting
Three piece molds for making the upper tiers of the waterfall fountain. Diaphragm Pump

Compressed air operates the pump, which pushes liquid clay (slip) into molds, the pump then reverses to draw the clay back into the storage tanks (blungers)

Robert using a nozzle similar to those in a gas station,
for controlling the flow of slip.

Slip is left in the molds 5 to 14 hours to build the required thickness.

Slip Casting
Slip Casting

The advantages of slip casting is the ability to make exact reproductions.

When producing a multi sectional sculpture, such as Roberts fountains,
 each tier needs to be consistent in shape, color and texture. Projects like these make casting both a logical and practical choice.

Robert removing the largest section of the Waterfall, from its three piece mold. This three piece mold incorporates both "Drain Cast" and "Core Cast" elements.  The piece above is the base tier of the Waterfall fountain.   A one piece drain cast mold worked best for making the water tube exits on the reservoirs.

Slip Casting
Liquid slip is pumped into molds then vacuumed back to the tank, when the required wall thickness of the piece is achieved. 
Robert is drawing back the slip in this photo.
The mold is turned upside down to release the clay casting.  A board strapped to the top of the mold catches the fountain basin.

 

The molds are too heavy to pick up, so a bracket was incorporated into the plaster.
This allows it to be lifted with a hoist.

 

Slip Casting
The primary advantage of casting was that it enabled Robert to interchange parts. Casting made every piece that came out of a mold an exact duplicate of the original. Susan Kuehnl (at left) fettling the seams on the casting of a water sculpture tier. Christine Homer (at right) and Susan worked at many aspects of process at the pottery.

Slip Casting
Fountains were originally thrown on the wheel. 

Prior to casting these fountains, Robert threw each piece and altered the form to produce every fountain.

 In the 1980's he was throwing 15 to 20 tons of clay a year.

 

1991

Robert standing next to the molds
that were in constant use, making fountains, in the 1980's.
Since 1991, the molds are used only on an occasional basis, when inventory runs low and a run needs to be produced.

 

Since1984, Robert's two most successful designs, the Waterfall & Scalloped Petal, have been made by slip casting. 

 

 

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