Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Hanging Ceramic Sculpture & Mid Fire Glazes Fired In Reduction To Cone 10

cat-relaxing-in-my-bathroom-sink
Here's my cat, Butter, relaxing in the bathroom sink. Cats always seem to find a place to relax, it doesn't matter where they are. I think Butter likes the sink because it envelops him and the sink is soft and cool to the touch. Butter barely fits in the sink because he's a big cat. Folks who see him for the first time say he looks like a small mountain lion.

This semester at college, I'm taking Ceramics Studio, an independent study class. One of my goals is to experiment with mid fire glazes and fire them in reduction to Cone 10. Last year I made a couple of small sculptures and used Duncan glazes and they came out OK, so I'm willing to experiment with more mid fire glazes firing them higher than the norm.

Here's a small sculpted head of a cat I did last year. It's about 4.5 inches in diameter overall. I glazed the piece by brushing on Duncan Cone 6 glazes and then firing in reduction to Cone 10. The glazes didn't run but they did fade a bit. I was willing to risk Cone 6 glazes in a Cone 10 firing, because the piece being fired was lying flat on the kiln shelf. I also made sure to leave a good amount of unglazed waxed space along the bottom edges. I used several coats of glaze so the color didn't burn out in the firing.

For some of my first wall hangings the hanging mechanism shows. The one on the right has two holes pierced through and then a wire is strung through the holes and it is hung on a nail on the wall. Kind of tacky looking, especially the way I wrapped the wire. Not having any experience at the time with making pieces that hung on the wall, I didn't think this through while making it. The holes were kind of an after thought.

For the piece on the left I placed a small loop or handle at the top of the piece to hang it from. This one is a little better looking, but when I hang it the nail can still be seen, distracting from the piece. This piece can also be placed on a table top plate holder. Some of my decorative plates can be hung with plate hangers. If the plate is functional and decorative, then a plate hanger works pretty well.

Since I want the ceramic piece to be the focal point, hiding the hanging mechanism is definitely preferable. I'm researching safe and sturdy ways to hang ceramic sculptures on the wall without the hanging mechanism showing. I once saw a large outdoor sculpture hung with nylon rope strung through one hole in the back. I would be afraid the nylon rope would fray and the piece would fall.


For the cat sculpture I attached a small donut to the back when I sculpted it and then pierced two vertical holes through the donut. After it comes out of the kiln, I thread some strong wire through the holes and hang it on the wall. I could have cut the wire a little shorter, but it's kind of difficult to thread the wire through because this wire was thick and it was hard to bend it to get it through the donut holes. It does work quite well, though.

I'm curious about other techniques there may be to hang ceramic sculpture or wall hangings. Do you have any ideas or hints about hanging ceramics you can share?

9 comments:

  1. BUTTER BABY, smooch! Lovely cat!

    Some of my wall pieces have 2 holes along the top, and I use a leather cord to hang the piece. Otherwise, I do about the same as you here, a strong clay loop in back and some wire.

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  2. You could also attach two tiny lugs,on either side of the piece on back and stretch the wire between the two lugs. This is good if you have a piece you want to hang on two spaced nails to keep the piece balanced (I hope this made sense).

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  3. Gary, Butter adopted us and he really is a sweet boy - he just showed up one day. At first if he didn't see me he would cry (meow real loud) and I'd have to call him. He follows us everywhere we go in the yard kind of like a dog. I'll have to make a whole post about each of our cats (3) - they all have a special story.

    Gary, I have a ceramic heart I made with two holes I'm going to hang with a red ribbon like you are suggesting - good idea, thx.

    Deborah, by lugs, do you mean like the donuts I have on the back of the cat? Hanging with two nails is a good idea because if I want to get it level it is easier with two nails and it's sturdier if the piece is heavy too, thanks for the idea.

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  4. How do you attach the lugs to the back of the piece? I have a similar project, and I am worried about cracking or breaking the ceramic from the back.
    Thanks!

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  5. Hi Anonymous (too bad you are anonymos, I love to get to know those making comments - I used to be shy but most folks are real nice and helpful), the lugs are attached when the clay is green by scoring and slipping - once they are fired they are as strong as the clay piece and as stoneware itself. If you want to attach something after it is fired, try epoxy. I have actually attached a broken piece of ceramic with epoxy and if you are real careful you don't see the seam. I have also heard of other ceramic artists using liquid nails to attach hanging systems to their clay sculptures and wall hangings and they swear by it - I have not tried it howerver, so I am not sure of its safety. Email me privately if you have any other questions. thanks for visiting my blog.

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  9. hi good day ! nice post you have . about this decors .they are beautiful . this decoration add attraction to our home . it depends only on how you put it or the arrangement in order to fit it in your interiors and theme . like me i have some home and garden decors which i contrast with my garden accessories and wind spinners and they blend perfectly . lovely set up !

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