Mould making is basically tracing

Halfway through my plaster and mould making induction workshop, I heard a frustrated fellow student saying, “I hate this, mould making is basically tracing, its all about throwing, getting into contact with the mucky stuff”. Me, loving mould making even though it might get exasperating sometimes (as everything else), I felt a bit affronted. Me a tracer?

I do see his point and different people have different preferences, throwing puts you right into action with the clay and it’s a bit more physical with the materiality of clay.

However, looking back, throwing is thought to have been invented around 4500 BC. That’s roughly 7000 years ago, but taking into account clay has been used as early as 24000 BC and functional pottery used for storing water and food is thought to be first created around 10000 BC, where the main techniques where slab, pinch and coil building. Throwing, with only 7000 years of exsitense, it is quite a modern method. And perhaps when this tool was first invented people could be against it or for it, and that just proves that not everything that makes our life easier or plainly because it’s a different way of manipulating a material, it is cheating or conceivably a better/worse technique.

Now with these fairy new but fast growing technologies of 3D printing we have pots being printed without us getting dirty. Some potters love it and some not so much. And for me this is a great sign that we are evolving as a species and stretching the possibilities of this ancient material and what we can do with it.

In addition, its been lovely attending the Techie Tuesdays lectures, as its an opportunity to see what practitioners have been doing with new technologies and their view on how they implement these onto their own work.

I was specially intrigued by the work of Anne Gibbs and her talk on her project with 3D printing technology. Anne Gibbs, as a ceramicist, she is  intrigued as most of us by different materials and their potentials. She seeks inspiration on her found objects and photographs of places she often passes by and these are then translated into two or three dimensional work. She has done an eight-week residency located in the National Centre for Product Design and Research in Cardiff and it gave her the opportunity to discover new processes and techniques and develop new ways of using materials. She had mixed feeling as 3D printing could give an insight to accurate and precise detail but at the same time is not always reliable and perhaps a bit intruding and then she goes back and relies on more traditional two and three dimensional mediums, combining and rearranging pieces together.


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BA (Hons) Final Year Ceramics student at Cardiff Metropolitan University. Love experimenting with material and techniques and work on a range of medium.

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