ART06100 2019 Ceramics 3: Developing Multiples, Press Moulding and Slip Casting

General Details

Full Title
Ceramics 3: Developing Multiples, Press Moulding and Slip Casting
Transcript Title
Ceramics 3: Developing Multipl
80 %
Subject Area
ART - Art
YADA - Yeats Academy Art Dsgn & Arch
06 - NFQ Level 6
05 - 05 Credits
Start Term
2019 - Full Academic Year 2019-20
End Term
9999 - The End of Time
Elizabeth Caffrey
Programme Membership
SG_AARTT_B07 201900 Bachelor of Arts in Fine Art SG_AARTT_H08 201900 Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Fine Art

Depending upon the students research material, they are asked to explore the world of modular or multiple units; assisted in identifying situations whereby multiple copies of one or more forms are required, as in the case of amalgamated structures or multiples for an installation.                             

In this module the Fine Art student is exposed to more advanced clay processes such as Press moulding and Slip casting.  Press moulding is possible when there is sufficient volume in the form (needing to be cast). Slip-casting works is best used when the form (the model) is finer with greater detailing; through experience the students will learn to distinguish the difference.                                                                                                                                                                                                                               The student is introduced to the complete casting process from initially selecting an appropriate form, to the making of moulds, all aspects of the plaster handling process to finally resolving well-honed surfaces on their cast forms. Where possible we endeavor to keep all choices simple, selecting forms which can be cast by 2 piece mould.                                                                                                                                                                                       Once the student earns these skills and can competently create complex, high spec moulds, they are enabled in using an array of other sculptural media such as wax or concrete, adopting their old moulds to suit each materials requirements.                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

The students take their lead from their ongoing research, selecting the relevant forms required for these processes. Through a shared project theme they should endeavor to connect all other disciplines, thus creating a strong interdisciplinary approach within the students’ body of work.


Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module the learner will/should be able to;


Illustrate clear evidence of a broad and well investigated technical and creative research.




Achieve a high level of finish and skill within their finished work.




Develop advanced building and glazing skills.



Show a clear understanding of the nature of plaster as a material and recognize the merits/reasons for using multiples or modular units.



Practice appropriate levels of health, safety and cleanliness in the Ceramics Studio and Mould Room

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Each semester the student is provided with a shared project theme which all disciplines follow and to which each student builds their ongoing research. At the early part of the semester initial technical information is provided via a series of demonstrations, information hand-outs and DVD’S. Students' are asked to maintain a Visual Diary, Ceramics Notebook and a series of exploratory macquettes as they develop their ideas. Weekly one-to-one tutorials support the students’ ongoing research and ensure they are responding productively to the designated project brief .Collective discussions and group critiques further support the students learning throughout the semester.

The Visiting Artist Series, International Trip, Exhibition Visits and Field Trips all provide invaluable exposure to a variety of professional platforms during the academic year.

Module Assessment Strategies

The students’ progress is monitored throughout the semester via informal weekly tutorials. Students present their ‘work in progress’ for a Mid Term Review, usually six weeks into the semester. A formal exam takes place at the end of semester whereby the student mounts their finished work in an exhibition format for assessment.

Repeat Assessments

The student is given a set Project to respond to, with a list of requirements. Through this project the student must establish a body of work which will fulfil the required learning outcomes of the initial failed module.The student is given the use of the Ceramic Studios for an extra two weeks, after their assessment, so they'll have the support and access to specialized equipment in order to complete the requirements of the Project.

Module Dependencies

ART06095 201900 Ceramics 1: Introduction to Clay Origins, Processes and Surface Treatments. ART06099 201900 Ceramics 2: Extruded Form and Raku Glazing

Indicative Syllabus

Visual Research: This is an integral aspect to the student’s engagement, which provides all answers to their material and technical engagement. Students are assigned shared project titles helping them begin to develop their personal interpretations and concepts. They are encouraged to realize the value of a broad and well informed research, which feeds all disciplines. Their investigations should explore both technical and creative sources as well as making themselves familiar with all relevant historical and contemporary artists. A strong and rich research is required to meet the diverse learning challenges.

Mould making & Plaster working: Students are first shown how to make plaster moulds which can be used both for press moulding and for slip casting. They are taken through the various stages of making a simple two-piece mould, from the initial registering of the 'model', to bedding down, soaping or sealing the model, through to achieving an accurate working mould which is user friendly in the Ceramics Studio. They are made aware of the many pitfalls and issues to avoid when handling plaster such as adhering to a strong plaster to water ratio, adequately securing the casing when casting in order to prevent ‘blow outs’ and many other related issues.  

Press moulding: The student is taught the benefits of volume production through the use of the press moulding processes, when multiples and accuracy are required within their work. At this stage they are expected to solve some of the technical challenges independently. They are shown how to manipulate the pressed elements when using the moulds in the studio and maintain their plaster moulds successfully.

Slip casting: As with press moulding, slip casting is also used when multiples are required. However this is a much more accurate process whereby more delicate forms can be produced in any quantity. The student is shown how to produce accurate moulds and maintain the efficiency of their moulds whilst in use. Basic maintenance of the slip casting equipment is required whilst in use, the student is shown how to operate the slip casting equipment as well as calibrate the slip consistency.

Glaze Technology: The student is encouraged to implement and develop glaze information learned from previous modules, particularly Ceramics 1.

Ceramic Studio Protocols and Health + Safety: Initially the student is introduced to a variety of equipment housed in the Plaster Room and made aware of the specialist areas of use. They are instructed in the safe use and basic maintenance of all equipment. With a ‘clean as you go’ policy, each student attends to a weekly cleaning schedule. They are instructed in the careful handling of fine dust materials in order to handle their materials safely, reducing the risk of dusty practices and are briefed on all Health & Safety protocols relevant to functioning in the Plaster Room.

Coursework & Assessment Breakdown

End of Semester / Year Formal Exam
100 %

End of Semester / Year Assessment

Title Type Form Percent Week Learning Outcomes Assessed
1 Presentation of a body of work Final Exam Practical Evaluation 100 % End of Semester 1,2,3,4,5

Full Time Mode Workload

Type Location Description Hours Frequency Avg Workload
Workshop Ceramics Studio Ceramics 3: Developing Multiples, Press Moulding and Slip Casting 6 Fortnightly 3.00
Total Full Time Average Weekly Learner Contact Time 3.00 Hours

Required & Recommended Book List

Required Reading
2016-03-24 Subversive Ceramics Bloomsbury Publishing
ISBN 9781472528544 ISBN-13 1472528549

Looking at satire and subversion within ceramics.

Required Reading
2010 Contemporary British Studio Ceramics
ISBN 0300167199 ISBN-13 9780300167191

In Britain today the output of excellent ceramics seems more eclectic than elsewhere. This stylish and wide-ranging survey comprises examples of clay art by one hundred major artists, covering the period from the late 1980s through 2009. Drawn from the Diane and Marc Grainer Collection, it includes works by Allison Britton, Edmund de Waal, Kate Malone, Grayson Perry, Julian Stair, Steve Dixon, and Nick Arroyave-Portela, among others. The selection balances functional objects and sculpture; hand-built, thrown, and molded techniques; varieties of scale and color; and cerebral and emotional content. All the ceramics here are rooted in the materiality of clay. The properties of the raw material, from its soft, malleable texture to the alchemy of slips and glazes, are at the core of the artists passion. And, as the text reveals, the younger generation is moving into new directions of art practice.

Required Reading
2011 Advanced Mouldmaking and Casting Crowood Press
ISBN 1847973108 ISBN-13 9781847973108

The scope and potential of mouldmaking and casting is fascinating. Its opportunities have been developed and expanded further by a range of new methods and materials only recently made available to the domestic market. This book provides a guide to more advanced techniques in mouldmaking and casting.

Required Reading
2006 The Essential Guide to Mold Making & Slip Casting Sterling Publishing Company
ISBN 1600590772 ISBN-13 9781600590771

An overview : prototypes and molds -- Designing, creating, and using -- Tools & materials : Tools -- materials -- supplies -- equipment -- safety -- Plaster : Types -- Absorption rates -- Consistency -- Amounts -- Mixing -- Pouring -- Frosting -- Plaster prototypes -- Mold soap and other separators -- Storing -- Featured artist : Anne Kraus: a conversation with the materials -- One-piece molds : Handmade clay prototypes -- One-, two-, and three-template clay prototypes -- Footed forms -- Cups and saucers -- Plaster prototypes -- Featured artist : Tom Spleth: cups and only cups -- Multiple-piece molds : Making -- Handles -- Spouts -- Pitchers -- Tiles -- Lidded forms -- Hollow-cast feet -- Fruits and vegetables -- No-model molds -- Complex molds -- Master molds : Advantages -- Plaster masters -- Rubber masters -- Featured artists : Donna Polseno and Richard Hensley: slip casting in production -- Slip formulation : Deflocculation -- Types of slip-casting clay bodies -- Mixing equipment -- Mixing -- Specific gravity -- Viscosity -- Mixing wet and dry scraps -- Mixing large batches -- Featured artist : Richard Notkin: evolution is not an option -- It's essential -- Casting : Preparing slip -- Preparing molds -- Casting -- Removing castings -- Handling wet castings -- Assembling cast parts -- Drying castings -- Preparing castings for firing -- Firing -- Troubleshooting : Broken molds -- chipped molds -- "Plaster disasters"--Troubleshooting guide.

Required Reading
2017-10-02 Vitamin C: Clay and Ceramic in Contemporary Art Phaidon Press
ISBN 0714874604 ISBN-13 9780714874609

A global survey of 100 of today's most important clay and ceramic artists, chosen by leading art world professionals. Vitamin C celebrates the revival of clay as a material for contemporary visual artists, featuring a wide range of global talent as selected by the world's leading curators, critics, and art professionals. Clay and ceramics have in recent years been elevated from craft to high art material, with the resulting artworks being coveted by collectors and exhibited in museums around the world. Packed with illustrations, Vitamin C is a vibrant and incredibly timely survey - the first of its kind. Artists include: Caroline Achaintre, Ai Weiwei, Aaron Angell, Edmund de Waal, Theaster Gates, Marisa Merz, Ron Nagle, Gabriel Orozco, Grayson Perry, Sterling Ruby, Thomas Schtte, Richard Slee, Clare Twomey, Jesse Wine, and Betty Woodman. Nominators include: Pablo Leon de la Barra, Iwona Blazwick, Mary Ceruti, Dan Fox, Jens Hoffmann, Christine Macel, James Meyer, Jed Morse, Beatrix Ruf, Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Nancy Spector, Sheena Wagstaff, and Jonathan Watkins.

Required Reading
2007-07-05 Slipcasting University of Pennsylvania Press
ISBN 0812219988 ISBN-13 9780812219982

Best known as one of the most widely used industrial ceramic techniques, slipcasting has become increasingly attractive to individual artists and craftspersons. Slip, a water and clay solution, is poured into porous molds. As the mold absorbs water from the slip, a layer of clay forms a cast. The excess slip is removed from the mold and the cast is stiffened, removed, dried, and fired in a kiln. Since the molds can be based on anything from delicate sculpture to found objects, slipcasting frees artists from the constraints of other ceramic techniques while allowing them to create multiples of their works. Sasha Wardell's Slipcasting is a straightforward, practical guide for those interested in the boundless possibilities of the technique. The book contains more than one hundred color illustrations, diagrams, and slip formulas. An inspiring "Individual Approaches" chapter discusses the slipcast work of a variety of contemporary ceramicists from around the world.

Required Reading
2008-07-25 Confrontational ceramics A&C Black
ISBN UOM:39076002776727

This ground-breaking book looks at the use of ceramic art as a confrontational tool, where artist's work comments on social issues. It is essentially a massive overview of the ceramic scene from this perspective, showcasing typical pieces of work by ceramic artists alongside their statements explaining their approach. Essentially an art book, this is very much about how work is used to confront people with the truth and comment on social issues, and is divided up into relevant chapters: War and Politics, the Environment, Social and Human Condition, Gender Issues and Popular Culture. Artists include very well known established makers such as Grayson Perry, Robert Arneson, Richard Notkin, Howard Kottler etc. as well as introducing lesser known artists. This glamorous and cutting-edge book displays the work of 234 artists from 30 different countries, making it truly international.

Required Reading
2005-01-01 Ceramics in the Environment Amer Ceramic Society
ISBN 1574982702 ISBN-13 9781574982701
Required Reading
2007 Breaking the Mould Black Dog Publishing
ISBN 1904772765 ISBN-13 9781904772767

The international ceramics scene is enjoying the highest profile it has had for many years. Breaking the Mould looks at ceramic artists working within this versatile medium. Drawing on the rich history of pottery these artists are pushing the techniques, objectives and perceptions of the medium into new, exciting territory. The book profiles the work of over 70 ceramicists, including Suzanne King, Simon Fell, Grayson Perry, Barnaby Barford, Carina Ciscato and Amy Houghton. Their work ranges from interpretations of utilitarian pots, to abstract sculpture and a revisioning of kitch porcelain ornaments, all of which are brought to life in beautiful colour reproductions. Essays by prolific makers and academics look at the history and inspirations behind the medium today. Following in the footsteps of New Directions in Jewellery, Fashioning Fabrics and The Cutting Edge of Wallpaper, Breaking the Mould is a definitive overview of a craft scene that is simultaneously building upon and breaking with its roots, and in doing so creating a brave new future for itself.

Module Resources

Journal Resources

Ceramics, Art and Perception (online copy).

Ceramics International (online copy).

Ceramics Ireland.

Ceramics Review.

Ceramics Technical (online copy).

Visual Artists Ireland Newsletter.

Other Resources

DVD's on the lives and works of relevant Artists.

Additional Information

Students are encouraged to seek Workplacement / Internships/ Scholarships or any work experience in the visual arts. This 'real life' engagement provides an invaluable context for their ongoing learning.