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  #1  
Old 10-03-2005, 01:44 PM
bluezidane bluezidane is offline
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Finish for a clay model

Hi

I hope it is right posting this here! I am new to this forum I am looking for some good 'recipes' for what to put on a clay model once it has been fired. I am usually working in terracotta clay which looks rather bare if left unfinished and have tried out a few things but wondered whether other people had any good ideas... particularly for interesting finishes or stuff that can be done at home.

many thanks
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  #2  
Old 10-03-2005, 02:08 PM
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bluedogshuz bluedogshuz is offline
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Re: Finish for a clay model

Craft stores such as Michaels have a ton of metalic surfaces that can be sprayed on. In addition the have bronze powders etc. that can be mixed with varnish or waxes to get surfaces. You can also practice with faux finishes to obtain a marble like finish. If seeking a bronze finish its best to paint the piece black first then add highlight of metal. I personally always liked the terracotta au naturale.
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  #3  
Old 10-03-2005, 04:05 PM
GaryR52 GaryR52 is offline
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Re: Finish for a clay model

If you're working with terracotta, why not glaze and fire it? It will then be immediately salable as completed ceramic sculpture, whereas, covering the unfired clay with some type of metallic paint or other surface material will render the piece of no value to a buyer at all. It will also mean removing the surfacing if you ever want to glaze and fire the piece in the future. Glazes are relatively cheap and easily brushed on. If you don't have a kiln and can't afford one, there are clay shops that will fire it for you for a small fee and there are also university art departments that may allow you to use their kiln. My point is, you've already got a nearly completed sculpture that you can sell as soon as it's in some final and relatively durable form (i.e., glazed and fired). If you put something over it, at this point, you will ruin any potential market value it may have as sculpture.

Gary
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  #4  
Old 10-03-2005, 04:12 PM
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underachiever underachiever is offline
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Re: Finish for a clay model

Go do glaze tests till you get sick from the fumes. At the end of the day, you'll be better for it.
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  #5  
Old 10-04-2005, 05:39 AM
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kathleenfen kathleenfen is offline
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Re: Finish for a clay model

If you want to try something kind of neat the next time you can get access to a kiln, use different colours of glass (thinner stuff is best) which can be set on the surface of a fired piece (providing the surface isn't too round; I've only seen it done on horizontal surfaces that were relatively flat) and then the piece again. The glass melts with a very nice crackled look with whatever you want to lay out as a design, depending on the temp (don't recall what was used as this was a while ago).
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  #6  
Old 10-04-2005, 01:30 PM
GaryR52 GaryR52 is offline
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Re: Finish for a clay model

Sounds like an interestinjg technique, Kathleen. I know a lot of jewelers these days are using dichroic glass with PMC (Precious Metal Clay, or Silver Clay, as it's sometimes called), which creates fine silver pieces with glass embedded in them.

This just gave me an idea. How about partially melting sheets of colored plexiglass (acrylic) over fired clay? You'd have to monitor the kiln to make sure you didn't use too much heat or heat it for too long, though. Just long enough to slump the acrylic sheet and adhere it to the fired clay.

Gary

Last edited by GaryR52 : 10-04-2005 at 01:33 PM.
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  #7  
Old 10-04-2005, 04:09 PM
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kathleenfen kathleenfen is offline
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Re: Finish for a clay model

Hi Gary,

I haven't done the glass technique, just saw it done...really beautiful effect though. I have built up layers of glaze on pottery that was then fired, creating a crackle, glass-like look in the built up areas on the piece. I am most intrigued with this PMC material. It's still a bit new to me and really an interesting material that I wish had been around years ago before I became severely addicted to carving.

Coloured plexiglass....that's a funky idea. Although, there's the flammable aspect to it that I think a kiln would overkill it with heat. A simple torch should be able to melt it in a more controllable way over the pottery I think. I wonder how that would adhere to the terracotta surface? Potential for some really interesting treatments. Some plastics can be quite toxic and give off fumes without heat, so I wonder about the vapours once it's heated...toxicity, that is?
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  #8  
Old 10-04-2005, 04:18 PM
GaryR52 GaryR52 is offline
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Re: Finish for a clay model

Well, you'd definitely set the kiln to low heat to avoid any combustion, of course. How low, I'm not sure. Might require some brave experimentation.

The offgassing would be the biggest problem, I think. That reminds me. I saw, on the news last night, that it is now being said that the "new car smell" everyone likes so much is actually toxic. No surprise to me. It's just fumes from offgassing, from all that vinyl in the interior. They've begun doing something, in Japan, to remove the fumes from new cars. Good thing, as they said the fumes are carcinogenic.

Gary
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  #9  
Old 10-04-2005, 04:23 PM
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kathleenfen kathleenfen is offline
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Re: Finish for a clay model

Brave experimentation indeed!!! Knowing me, I'd torch the place!

Yes, that sounds about right with regard to the new car smell. I did not know they were carcinogenic fumes. That's terrible. You know, I think a while back someone created some kind of air freshner that had a "new car smell"...now what did they use to make that?? HAHA!
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  #10  
Old 10-04-2005, 04:29 PM
GaryR52 GaryR52 is offline
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Re: Finish for a clay model

No telling. Maybe some type of liquid polymer. You know that's all products like Armourall are; just a polymeric solution.

Well, I guess I'll be buying a Japanese car again.

Gary
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  #11  
Old 10-04-2005, 09:37 PM
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fritchie fritchie is offline
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Re: Finish for a clay model

Blue - You say "once it has been fired", and I assume you mean a low fire. I've never fired clay except many years ago in classes, but I agree with bluedogshuz, who says he likes it "au naturel". On the other hand, I also think a clear glaze would be less likely to pick up dirt over the years, and be easier to clean periodically.

I think the preference here would be for a permanent surface, one that is fired rather than painted. That means working with someone who has equipment and experience. Also be aware that glazing can destroy (crack or break) the piece, so it does involve a risk. If the work is "one of a kind", you may want to leave the piece as is.
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  #12  
Old 10-04-2005, 11:36 PM
GaryR52 GaryR52 is offline
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Re: Finish for a clay model

I, too, like the look of unglazed bisque ware. If not a clear glaze, then you could coat it with clear paste wax, which will protect the surface and retain the look. Either that or spray it with clear acrylic.

Gary
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  #13  
Old 10-05-2005, 01:55 AM
Foundryman1 Foundryman1 is offline
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Re: Finish for a clay model

For a basic finish, simply wax your finished sculpture with a brush-on floor wax. This will also seal it and prevent staining, and preserves the character of the clay. Rodin, Algardi, Bernini, and others left their terracottas unfinished. If you would like a more 'antique' look, mix a small amount of tar in mineral spirits, mix well, and brush on. This gives a depth to your piece by emphasizing undercuts and detail. At the Associazione Cultural in Rome, I saw a demonstration involving a tar wash applied over a thin, fired kaolin wash. Interesting effect, but it made the figure look like a corpse. The wax metallics are a good idea, but use them sparingly, or you may end up with a sculpture that looks like an ornament for your car's bonnet. Glazing or polychroming is alway an option, but if you are not already familiar with those techniques, it is difficult to get started. For a bronze look, you can build up thin layers of oil paints over a dark base coat. Done properly, it is difficult to tell the difference between a real bronze and bronze paint. Just experiment and have fun, and I'm sure you can come up with a great finish. Good luck.
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  #14  
Old 11-10-2005, 12:33 PM
alonday alonday is offline
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Re: Finish for a clay model

try pit firing with wood to get carbon stain from the ashes
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  #15  
Old 12-03-2005, 08:42 PM
peacock peacock is offline
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Re: Finish for a clay model

hi there, i have had loads of fun trying out finishes on fired works, you can seal them with thined shellac. and then layer acrylic paints. work out what colours you want as the hightlights paint that on promenant areas, all over. when dry get an old tooth brush and work in shoe polish, the soft stuff you get in jars, work it right into the cracks and then polish off gently. you can make clay look like anything you want, bronze, verdigree (dont know spelling) stone, have fun.
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  #16  
Old 12-07-2005, 01:36 PM
Austinsculpts Austinsculpts is offline
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Re: Finish for a clay model

There are a ton of finishes that you can do--first is glazes. You can buy them "off the shelf" from Laguna or Amaco. You can also mix them yourself if you have the time to research it. Follow directions closely as to how many coats and firing temps. If you don't you will be unhappy.

For glazes, do not take the manufacturer's word for it. Every time fire a test tile or two or ten. Try adding talc for one, fire a few below temp and a few higher. Make sure you write on the tile which one you used.

Next, non-fired patinas are great too. We use thing like spray paint as a base coat and sealant with lots of stuff over the top. We use red iron oxide, chromium oxide, waxes (sometimes with those oxides mised in, or standard shoe polish). You can also use wood stain--that is right, I said it, wood stain. Experiment and see what you like and always get it consistent on your whole piece.
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